Property of lawrencium may help settle a long-standing debate
In their momentary life span, atoms of lawrencium, element 103, may have left a lasting impression on the structure of the periodic table.
For the first time, researchers have measured a basic property of the fleeting radioactive element, namely its ionization potential, they report in the April 9 Nature. The ionization potential — how much energy it takes to strip an atom of its most weakly bound electron —hints at how that atom’s electrons are arranged. Such information for lawrencium may help resolve a long-standing question about where the element belongs in the periodic table.
The question will probably be taken up in the next year or two by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, says Jan Reedijk, president of IUPAC’s inorganic chemistry division and a molecular inorganic chemist at Leiden University in the Netherlands. IUPAC governs chemical nomenclature. In this