Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Superheavy islands of stability

This delightful diagram was produced by Russian physicist Georgy Flyorov in 1974. It depicts the search for stable atomic nuclei heavier than uranium. It is hypothesised that such an 'island of stability' will be found beyond nuclei with a proton number of 114, and a neutron number of 184.

Between 1981 and 1984, a group in Darmstadt, Germany, synthesized the elements Bohrium (proton number 107), Hassium (108), and Meitnerium (109). In 1994, the same group reported the synthesis of Darmstadtium (110) and Roentgenium (111), and, in 1998, a Russian team in Dubna claimed to have synthesised 114. Although the isotope produced had insufficient neutrons to be stable, and possessed a half-life of 30 seconds, the isotopes of elements in the range 110-114 which have been synthesised, are slower to decay than the isotopes of nearby nuclei on the periodic table, so hope remains that the island of stability is in sight...

2 comments:

Clare said...

Ah, an island of stability - that is such an attractive concept in so many applications...

Just come over here to let you know I've tagged you - only should you feel so inclined, of course!

Gordon McCabe said...

Tagged me? Whassat mean?