Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

One flerovium atom at a time

This month, our tour of the elements takes us to a corner of the periodic table that has only been explored recently, and from which only a handful of atoms have been observed. In the case of flerovium, literally one atom at a time. The superheavy element 114 has such a high nuclear charge that several months of nuclear fusion (in which calcium-48 ion beams are directed into targets of plutonium or curium isotopes) are required to produce just one atom — which then decays within seconds. 


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