Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unravelling Relativistic Effects in the Heaviest Actinide Element

09.04.2015

The first-time measurement of the first ionization potential of lawrencium (element 103)

An international collaboration led by the research group of superheavy elements at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Tokai, Japan has achieved the ionization potential measurement of lawrencium (element 103) with a novel-type technique at the JAEA tandem accelerator.


The gray tantalum tube surrounded by two heating elements in the center of the picture is part of the recently developed surface ion source installed in the JAEA-ISOL system in the JAEA tandem accelerator.

photo: Tetsuya K. Sato, JAEA

Based on the empirically developed "actinide concept", and in agreement with theoretical calculations, in today’s Periodic Table the series of actinide elements terminates with element 103, lawrencium (Lr). Now researchers have measured the first ionization potential of Lr, which reflects the binding energy of the most weakly-bound valence electron in lawrencium’s atomic shell.

Effects of relativity strongly affect this energy, and the experimental result is in excellent agreement with a new theoretical calculation, which includes these effects. It was shown that removing the outermost electron requires least energy in Lr among all actinides, as was expected. This validates the position of Lr as the last actinide element and confirms the architecture of the Periodic Table.

Since the introduction of the "actinide concept" as the most dramatic modern revision of the Periodic Table of the Elements by Glenn T. Seaborg in the 1940s, the element with atomic number 103, lawrencium (Lr), played a crucial role as the last element in the actinide series.

This special position turned out to set this element into the focus of questions on the influence of relativistic effects and the determination of properties confirming its position as the last actinide element. Consequently, the quest for data on chemical and physical properties of Lr was driving experimental and theoretical studies.

Two aspects most frequently addressed concerned its ground state electronic configuration and the value of its first ionization potential. As the last element in the actinide series, and similar to lutetium (Lu) as the last element in the lanthanide series, it was expected that Lr has a very low first ionization potential that is strongly influenced by relativistic effects.

However, Lr is only accessible atom-at-a-time in syntheses at heavy-ion accelerators, and only short-lived isotopes are known. Therefore, experimental investigations on Lr are very rare and have so far been limited to a few studies of some basic chemical properties.

In their new work, for which the international research collaboration exploited a novel combination and advancement of methods and techniques, the researchers report on the first and accurate measurement of the first ionization potential of Lr. For the experiment, the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz purified and prepared the exotic target material californium (element 98). The material was converted into a target in Japan and then exposed to a beam of boron ions (element 5).

The experiment was supplemented by theoretical calculations undertaken by scientists at the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) and at Tel Aviv University of Israel using the most up-to-date quantum chemical methods to quantify the ionization energy. The very good agreement between calculated and experimental result validates the quantum chemical calculations. The experimental technique opens up new perspectives for similar studies of yet more exotic, superheavy elements.

The international team consists of research groups from JAEA, the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Germany, the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM), Germany, the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, Darmstadt, Germany, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland, Ibaraki University, Japan, Niigata University, Japan, Hiroshima University, Japan, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand, and Tel Aviv University, Israel.

The new findings have been presented in the NATURE magazine.

Publication:
Tetsuya K. Sato et al.
Measurement of the first ionization potential of lawrencium, element 103
NATURE 520, 209-211, 9. April 2015
DOI: 10.1038/nature14342
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v520/n7546/full/nature14342.html

Illustrations/photos:
http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/09_kernchemie_lawrencium_01.jpg
The periodic table of elements including in the colored block at the bottom the lanthanides (Ln) and actinides (An). The height of each column indicates the relative first ionization potential of the corresponding element. The result obtained for lawrencium (Lr) is shown by the red column. The binding energy of the least bound valence electron in lawrencium is thus weaker than that in all other actinides and all other lanthanides.
Ill.: Kazuaki Tsukada, JAEA

http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/09_kernchemie_lawrencium_02.jpg
The ionization energy of heavy lanthanides (black) and actinides (red) with the current result for lawrencium (Lr). The filled circle symbols represent values recorded in experiments, the ring symbols are estimated values. The two values for lawrencium are in excellent agreement, emphasizing the close correspondence between the theoretical expectations and experimental findings.
Ill.: Tetsuya K. Sato, JAEA

http://www.uni-mainz.de/bilder_presse/09_kernchemie_lawrencium_03.jpg
The gray tantalum tube surrounded by two heating elements in the center of the picture is part of the recently developed surface ion source installed in the JAEA-ISOL system in the JAEA tandem accelerator.
photo: Tetsuya K. Sato, JAEA

Further information:
Professor Dr. Christoph Düllmann
Institute of Nuclear Chemistry
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)
55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-25852
fax +49 6131 39-20811
e-mail: duellmann@uni-mainz.de
http://www.kernchemie.uni-mainz.de/eng/index.php

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nature.com/news/exotic-atom-struggles-to-find-its-place-in-the-period... – NATURE article "Exotic atom struggles to find its place in the periodic table" on the original publication

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v520/n7546/full/520166a.html – NATURE News & Views article "Nuclear chemistry: Lawrencium bridges a knowledge gap"

http://www.superheavies.de/ - Superheavy Elements Chemistry Group

Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Channels for the Supply of Energy
19.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Vine Compound Starves Cancer Cells
19.11.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

How Humans and Machines Navigate Complex Situations

19.11.2018 | Science Education

Finding plastic litter from afar

19.11.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Channels for the Supply of Energy

19.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>