Periodic Table -> Meitnerium


Meitnerium Details

Meitnerium Symbol: Mt

Meitnerium Atomic Number: 109

Meitnerium Atomic Weight: (276)

What is Meitnerium?

Meitnerium (atomic number 109, symbol Mt) is a chemical element synthesized by Gottfried Munzenberg and Peter Armbruster at the Darmstadt Institute for Heavy Ion Research in 1982. The team used nuclei of iron-58 to bombard bismuth-209 and detected meitnerium-266. The half-life of this isotope is 0.0038 seconds or 3.8 milliseconds. The most stable isotope of meitnerium is meitnerium-278 and through alpha decay, it decays into bohrium-274. Its half-life is around 11 seconds.

The element was originally known as unnilennium and named after the physicist Lise Meitner. IUPAC adopted the name in 1997.

This radioactive element is artificially produced. Its chemical properties have not been researched, but they should be similar to those of iridium and other elements of group 9. This group contains the elements meitnerium, iridium, rhodium, and cobalt, which are classified as d-block transition elements.

Meitnerium should have a high melting point and be very corrosion-resistant. It should be a heavy metal as well and is projected to be the heaviest member of group 9, after iridium, rhodium, and cobalt. The atomic weight of meitnerium is 278, and it is solid at room temperature. Its boiling point, melting point, and density are unknown. Its oxidation state and ionization energy are also unknown, and its electron shell configuration has not been confirmed.

Regarding isotopes, Ken Hulet was the first to attempt the production of long-living isotopes. No product atoms were detected. A research team at LBNL used hot fusion to find an isotope of meitnerium, hoping it would be sufficiently stable so that the elementís chemical properties could be studied. Again, no atoms were detected. Reactions with Th-232, Pa-231, Np-237, Pu-244, and Pu-242 are yet to be attempted.

Cold fusion reactions have been used to synthesize nuclei of meitnerium. These processes lead to a higher probability of synthesis at low excitation energy. The excited nuclei decay through the emission of 1 or 2 electrons to the ground state. The first successful reaction was observed by researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in 1982. They identified a single atom of meitnerium-266 by using a parent-daughter correlation technique. The experiment of 1982 was unsuccessful, but in 1985, another team detected alpha decays from Cf-246, which indicated that meitnerium was formed. The research team at the Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research synthesized two atoms of meitnerium-266 in 1988. Measuring the 1n excitation function in 1997, it detected 12 atoms. Meitnerium isotopes have been identified as part of the decay of heavier elements.

Researchers have identified 2 atoms of meitnerium-270 in the decay chains of ununtrium-278. The decay energies and lifetimes of the 2 decays are different. One of the isomers decays by emission of an alpha particle and the other by emitting a MeV alpha particle. Because of the limited data, they cannot be assigned to specific levels, and further research is required.

The element does not have applications, outside of scientific research, because only small amounts have been synthesized successfully. Little is known about the element, and it doesnít have known or commercial applications. Since meitnerium is a synthetic element, it is not found free in nature. Given that the element is very unstable, it decomposes quickly and would not have any effects on human health. Because of its short half-life, the element does not pose risk to the environment.

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