Superheavy elements

Definition

Superheavy elements are those elements with a large number of protons in their nucleus. Elements with more than 92 protons are unstable; they decay to lighter nuclei with a characteristic half-life. This means superheavy elements do not occur in large quantities (if at all) naturally on earth, and only exist briefly under highly controlled circumstances.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    It is challenging to explore properties of heavy elements as they can only be produced artificially. Here, the authors demonstrate a high resolution spectroscopy method, studying the properties of actinium, which can be extended to the study of other elements located at the end of the periodic table.

    • R. Ferrer
    • , A. Barzakh
    • , B. Bastin
    • , R. Beerwerth
    • , M. Block
    • , P. Creemers
    • , H. Grawe
    • , R. de Groote
    • , P. Delahaye
    • , X. Fléchard
    • , S. Franchoo
    • , S. Fritzsche
    • , L. P. Gaffney
    • , L. Ghys
    • , W. Gins
    • , C. Granados
    • , R. Heinke
    • , L. Hijazi
    • , M. Huyse
    • , T. Kron
    • , Yu. Kudryavtsev
    • , M. Laatiaoui
    • , N. Lecesne
    • , M. Loiselet
    • , F. Lutton
    • , I. D. Moore
    • , Y. Martínez
    • , E. Mogilevskiy
    • , P. Naubereit
    • , J. Piot
    • , S. Raeder
    • , S. Rothe
    • , H. Savajols
    • , S. Sels
    • , V. Sonnenschein
    • , J-C Thomas
    • , E. Traykov
    • , C. Van Beveren
    • , P. Van den Bergh
    • , P. Van Duppen
    • , K. Wendt
    •  & A. Zadvornaya
  • Research |

    Resonance ionization spectroscopy of nobelium (atomic number 102) reveals its ground-state transition and an upper limit for its ionization potential, paving the way to characterizing even heavier elements via optical spectroscopy.

    • Mustapha Laatiaoui
    • , Werner Lauth
    • , Hartmut Backe
    • , Michael Block
    • , Dieter Ackermann
    • , Bradley Cheal
    • , Premaditya Chhetri
    • , Christoph Emanuel Düllmann
    • , Piet van Duppen
    • , Julia Even
    • , Rafael Ferrer
    • , Francesca Giacoppo
    • , Stefan Götz
    • , Fritz Peter Heßberger
    • , Mark Huyse
    • , Oliver Kaleja
    • , Jadambaa Khuyagbaatar
    • , Peter Kunz
    • , Felix Lautenschläger
    • , Andrew Kishor Mistry
    • , Sebastian Raeder
    • , Enrique Minaya Ramirez
    • , Thomas Walther
    • , Calvin Wraith
    •  & Alexander Yakushev
    Nature 538, 495–498
  • Research |

    Lawrencium, with atomic number 103, has an isotope with a half-life of 27 seconds; even so, its first ionization potential has now been measured on an atom-at-a-time scale and agrees well with state-of-the-art theoretical calculations that include relativistic effects.

    • T. K. Sato
    • , M. Asai
    • , A. Borschevsky
    • , T. Stora
    • , N. Sato
    • , Y. Kaneya
    • , K. Tsukada
    • , Ch. E. Düllmann
    • , K. Eberhardt
    • , E. Eliav
    • , S. Ichikawa
    • , U. Kaldor
    • , J. V. Kratz
    • , S. Miyashita
    • , Y. Nagame
    • , K. Ooe
    • , A. Osa
    • , D. Renisch
    • , J. Runke
    • , M. Schädel
    • , P. Thörle-Pospiech
    • , A. Toyoshima
    •  & N. Trautmann
    Nature 520, 209–211
  • Research |

    The difference between the mass of an atom and the sum of its building blocks (the binding energy) is a manifestation of Einstein's famous relation E = mc2. Superheavy elements have been observed, but our present knowledge of the binding energy of these nuclides is based only on the detection of their decay products, although they represent the gateway to the predicted 'island of stability'. Here, direct mass measurements of trans-uranium nuclides are reported, providing reliable anchor points en route to the island of stability.

    • M. Block
    • , D. Ackermann
    • , K. Blaum
    • , C. Droese
    • , M. Dworschak
    • , S. Eliseev
    • , T. Fleckenstein
    • , E. Haettner
    • , F. Herfurth
    • , F. P. Heßberger
    • , S. Hofmann
    • , J. Ketelaer
    • , J. Ketter
    • , H.-J. Kluge
    • , G. Marx
    • , M. Mazzocco
    • , Yu. N. Novikov
    • , W. R. Plaß
    • , A. Popeko
    • , S. Rahaman
    • , D. Rodríguez
    • , C. Scheidenberger
    • , L. Schweikhard
    • , P. G. Thirolf
    • , G. K. Vorobyev
    •  & C. Weber
    Nature 463, 785–788

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