We now know more about the einsteinium that was released in a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific
After 69 years of slow process, chemists have succeeded in discovering the basic properties of einsteinium, the obscure 99th element, which is one of the heaviest elements in the periodic table.
This element was first created during the combustion of a hydrogen bomb on the island of Elugelab in the South Pacific in 1952 and had retained its shroud of mystery for some time due to the fact that it does not occur naturally and is unstable to the degree that it is difficult to gather enough of it to study. Its complex nature does not not stop there because it is difficult to separate from other elements, highly radioactive, and it quickly disintegrates
The study, published in the journal Nature, revealing the basic chemical properties of einsteinium, brings chemists closer to the discovery of «the island of stability», where some of the most powerful elements that could act as powerful nuclear fuel for future fission-powered space missions are believed to be in
The study conducted by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California is the first of its kind in years 1970 Using a specialized nuclear reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which is one of the few places where einsteinium can be made, they were able to create a sample of 233 pure einsteinium nanograms.
They had to overcome many difficulties, and perhaps the most problematic was the rapid decay of einsteinium and the emission of gamma rays. Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico helped the team by designing a 3D printed sample holder in which they can place the einsteinium and protect themselves from radiation.
The researchers were able to discover the basic chemical properties of the element at the end of the experiment They measured the average distance of einsteinium between two bonded atoms, called bond length This is especially important because it can help scientists predict how einsteinium will interact with other elements
Although this has been predicted in the past, they have experimentally proven that the length of the einsteinium bond goes against the general tendency of actinides
Moreover, scientists have seen that einsteinium luminesces more differently than the rest of the actinide series when exposed to light; however, the reason why researchers still don't know
The study, which will potentially facilitate the creation of einsteinium in the future, also laid the foundations for conducting chemistry experiments on extremely small amounts.
Einsteinium, periodic table, chemistry, chemical element, actinide, atom
News – FR – Chemists finally discover properties of einsteinium after 69 years