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Gas chromatographic investigations of volatile transactinides

English title Gas chromatographic investigations of volatile transactinides
Applicant Eichler Robert
Number 117671
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Paul Scherrer Institut
Institution of higher education Paul Scherrer Institute - PSI
Main discipline Inorganic Chemistry
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 30.09.2009
Approved amount 220'498.00
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Keywords (6)

Transactinides; adsorption gas phase chromatography; vacuum chromatography; single atom chemistry; relativistic effects; on-line separations

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The discovery of more than 30 neutron-rich isotopes of elements around Z = 114 at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions (FLNR) in Dubna, Russia paved the way for the chemical investigation of even heavier super heavy elements (SHE). The Insitu Volatilitzation and On-line detection technique (IVO), which includes the Cryo-On-Line Detector (COLD), allowed for the first time the successful chemical investigation of the elements 112 and 114 on the basis of only a few observed atoms. The chemical identification of 5 atoms 283-112 (T05=4s) revealed in our experiments metallic properties of element 112 in contact with a gold surface similar to its homologue mercury. In this chemical environment element 112 behaved quite different from noble gases. Nevertheless an enhancement of the volatility compared to mercury was observed. According to the preliminary analysis of the experimental data obtained for element 114, it behaved surprisingly very similar to a noble gas, revealing a physisorptive interaction with the stationary chromatographic gold phase. This is the first manifestation of enhanced relativistic effects in the electron structure of transactinides compared to the lighter homologues. However, the latter experiment revealed some difficulties with increased background. Therefore, only the short correlations related to 114-287 (T05=0.5s) and 288-114(T05=0.8s) could be unambiguously identified. The heavier transactinide elements 113-116, discovered recently in Dubna are expected to be less volatile compared to Hg and even more short-lived than 287,288114. The low volatility implies a poor chemical separation of by-products of the nuclear fusion reaction, interfering with an unambiguous identification of the transactinides. Physical separators are able to provide the needed preseparation of the nuclear reaction products. Currently, the dedicated separator for chemical studies, the TransActinide Separator and Chemical Apparatus (TASCA), is commissioned at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) Darmstadt, Germany. First test experiments did show successfully a high separation efficiency and transmission, allowing for almost background-free chemical investigations. We propose in the course of this project to proceed with the development of a fast vacuum-adsorption chromatographic setup capable to be coupled to physical separator devices. This combination will facilitate chemical investigations focusing on low-volatile short-lived transactinide p-elements in their elemental state. This project will require efforts over the next four years until first generation experiments with low-volatile transactinides in their elemental state can be proposed.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
109171 Gas chromatographic investigations of volatile transactinides 01.10.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
126639 Gas chromatographic investigations of volatile transactinides 01.10.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)