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New data on synthetic element trigger rethink of periodic table

Property of lawrencium may help settle a long-standing debate

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4:06pm, April 16, 2015
periodic table

FLEETING  Despite new results, controversy remains over where the radioactive element lawrencium (plus its upstairs neighbor lutetium) should be in the periodic table: in the d-block or f-block.

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

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