All superheavy elements (SHEs), with atomic numbers (Z) ≥104, have been artificially synthesized one atom at a time and their chemical properties are largely unknown. Because these heavy nuclei have short lifetimes as well as extremely low production rates, chemical experiments need to be carried out on single atoms and have mostly been limited to adsorption and extraction. We have now investigated the precipitation properties of the SHE Rf (Z = 104). A co-precipitation method with samarium hydroxide had previously established that the co-precipitation behaviour of a range of elements reflected these elements’ tendency to form hydroxide precipitates and/or ammine complex ions. Here we investigated co-precipitation of Rf in basic solutions containing NH3 or NaOH. Comparisons between the behaviour of Rf with that of Zr and Hf (lighter homologues of Rf) and actinide Th (a pseudo-homologue of Rf) showed that Rf does not coordinate strongly with NH3, but forms a hydroxide (co)precipitate that is expected to be Rf(OH)4.
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This work was performed at the RI Beam Factory operated by RIKEN Nishina Center and CNS, University of Tokyo. The authors are grateful to the staff members of RIKEN Nishina Center for their excellent beam operation. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI grant numbers 24655050 and 16K05815.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Kasamatsu, Y., Toyomura, K., Haba, H. et al. Co-precipitation behaviour of single atoms of rutherfordium in basic solutions. Nat. Chem. 13, 226–230 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-020-00634-6
Nature Chemistry (2021)