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Title: The heaviest elements

How long does an atom need to exist before it's possible to do any meaningful chemistry on it Is it possible to learn anything at all about the reactions of an element for which no more than a few dozen atoms have ever existed simultaneously These are some of the questions colleagues in a few laboratories worldwide attempt to answer as they investigate the chemistry of the heaviest elements--elements produced one atom at a time in accelerators by bombarding radioactive targets with high-intensity beams of heavy ions. All of these elements spontaneously decay; the most stable of them have half-lives of only a few minutes, some that are less stable exist for only milliseconds. So far, no chemical studies have been performed on elements whose longest lived isotopes last only milliseconds because the difficulties of doing chemistry on this time scale under highly radioactive conditions are enormous. Over the past 10 years, however, nuclear chemists have developed new techniques or adapted existing ones to begin to probe the chemical properties of those very heavy elements that have half-lives in the range of seconds to minutes. Although the classic experiments are now nearly 40 years old, they are worth describing, asmore » they were the first of their kind and illustrate many of the techniques that are still used and essential in studying these very short-lived, radioactive elements.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. (Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States) Lawrence Berkeley Lab., CA (United States))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
7185035
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Chemical and Engineering News; (United States); Journal Volume: 72:18
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY; ELEMENT 104; CHEMICAL PROPERTIES; ELEMENT 105; ELEMENT 106; ELEMENT 107; ELEMENT 108; ELEMENT 109; LAWRENCIUM; MENDELEVIUM; NOBELIUM; MEASURING METHODS; MICROSEC LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; MILLISEC LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; MINUTES LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; NANOSEC LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; ACTINIDES; ELEMENTS; ISOTOPES; METALS; RADIOISOTOPES; TRANS 104 ELEMENTS; TRANSPLUTONIUM ELEMENTS; TRANSURANIUM ELEMENTS 400702* -- Radiochemistry & Nuclear Chemistry-- Properties of Radioactive Materials