An experimental paradigm opening the world of superheavy elements

P, Armbruster and Munzenberg, Gottfried (2012) An experimental paradigm opening the world of superheavy elements. THE EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL H (37). pp. 237-309.

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The history of the discovery of the six elements Z = 107−112, bohrium, hassium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, roentgenium,and copernicium goes back to the early 1960s. An experimental method to separate and identify rare nuclear reaction products, the recoil separation,was developed and optimised for beams of fission products at European research reactors. Chemical elements beyond the then first transactinides (Z = 104), which owe their stability to the internal structure of atomic nuclei, were predicted theoretically. A big brother of the shell-stabilised nucleus 208Pb, a spherical magic nucleus at Z = 114−126 and N = 184, might reach lifetimes long enough to be detected. In the seventies, hunting superheavy elements (SHE) was on the agenda of nuclear chemistry. Could the Periodic Table of Elements be extende d to Z = 120, and is the order of electrons in the atom still following the laws established for lighter elements? In Germany,the heavy ion accelerator (UNILAC) was built by Christoph Schmelzer and his team at GSI, Darmstadt. SHE and UNILAC met the recoil separators in 1968, and SHIP (Separator for Heavy Ion reaction Products)was ready together with the first UNILAC-beams in 1976. Recoil separation is orders of magnitude more sensitive, selective, and faster than earlier methods used to synthesise elements up to seaborgium, Z = 106. The experimental paradigm we introduced opened the world of SHEs. At SHIP we discovered and investigated the elements Z = 107−112 in the years 1980–2000. Our laboratory was the world champion during this time. Today our experimental method is used worldwide in the search for SHEs, but the leadership went to the Russian laboratory JINR in Dubna, which extended the Periodic Table by 6 more elements to Z = 118, the candidate for the next rare gas.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Departments at MU > Manipal Centre for Natural Sciences
Depositing User: MCNS Editor
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 15:11
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015 15:11

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