Nuclear chemistry

Chemistry of Superheavy Elements

The heaviest chemical elements known to exist so far present a laboratory in which the modern theories in nuclear and atomic physics as well as in chemistry are subjected to a test. In perusing the goal of obtaining stable superheavy nuclei from the so-called “island of stability” ($\textrm{Z} \sim 120$, $\textrm{N} \sim 184$) many elements with $\textrm{Z}=112-118$ were synthesized by fusing $^{48}\textrm{Ca}$ with different heavy isotopes such as $^{238}\textrm{U}$, $^{237}\textrm{Np}$, $^{242,244}\textrm{Pu}$, $^{243}\textrm{Am}$, $^{245,248}\textrm{Cm}$, $^{249}\textrm{Bk}$ and $^{248}\textrm{Cf}$ .

The chemical characterization and identification of these nuclei holds promise to reveal relativistic effects which are predicted to play an important role for elements whose valence electrons are spinning on high orbits. Current research on $\textrm{Fl}$ chemistry already shows deviation from the trend followed by the rest of the elements belonging to the IVA group of the Periodic Table of Elements. In particular we show that $\textrm{Fl}$ is more volatile relevant to its light homologues, meaning that there exists a closed $p_{1/2}$ subshell which is a manifestation of the strong spit-orbit splitting.


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