Printer Friendly

Hassium holds its place at the table.

For the first time, researchers have studied the chemistry of the element hassium, confirming its location on the periodic table.

Hassium, with 108 protons in each atom, is the heaviest element yet to have its chemical properties analyzed. First created in 1984, hassium doesn't exist in nature--it must be made by combining the nuclei of lighter elements.

Suspecting that hassium has properties similar to osmium and other so-called group 8 elements, chemists placed hassium on the periodic table directly below osmium. Such placement, however, relied only on theoretical predictions, says Heino Nitsche of the Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory. No one had actually observed hassium behavior--until now.

Nitsche and his colleagues in Berkeley worked with researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen and the University of Bern in Switzerland and the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.

The team recently built and installed an instrument at the UNILAC heavy-ion accelerator in Darmstadt, Germany, that can detect and analyze hassium. When the researchers slammed atoms of the artificial isotope curium-248 with magnesium-26 atoms, they ended up with at least six molecules of hassium.

Hassium has a half-life of just 9 seconds, but that's long enough to obtain crucial data, says Nitsche. For example, hassium atoms reacted with oxygen to form hassium oxide molecules that condensed at a temperature consistent with the behavior of group 8 elements, says Nitsche. The team measured other properties of hassium, such as the energy released as it decays.

The work would have pleased the early chemists who contributed to the periodic table, notes Nitsche, because it "shows that the structure of the periodic table holds even to these elements that they couldn't imagine at the time."
COPYRIGHT 2001 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:periodic table of chemical elements
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jun 23, 2001
Previous Article:Chemists make hard-to-catch molecules.
Next Article:An Illuminating Journey.

Related Articles
A periodic table for molecules.
Mapping the periodic landscape of elements.
A chemical glance at short-lived elements.
Aiming for superheavy elements.
Researchers take an element off the table.
The periodic table.
The periodic table.
The periodic table.
Name that element! Which element on the periodic table helps play tricks with birthday candles, colors plants green, and soothes achy stomachs?...
Back on the Table? Element 118 is served up again.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters