Scientists have only 276 days to study einsteinium

An unprecedented success of chemists - for the first time in history, they managed to accumulate a sufficient amount of the element einsteinium to carry out a number of experiments with it. The achievement belongs to scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California (USA). However, Einsteinium is critically small - only 233 nanograms, and this amount is rapidly decreasing.

Einsteinium is obtained as a by-product, but a desirable product in the production of California, which is much easier to create. To do this, the nucleus of another element, curium, was bombarded with subatomic particles. The result was fragments of California and Einsteinium, which were then separated. This is a standard technology for the production of 15 chemical elements that do not occur naturally by themselves.

The isotope Einsteinium-240 has a half-life of only 6 seconds, but American scientists have managed to accumulate enough isotope Einsteinium-254, which has a half-life of 276 days. That is, they have less than a year to study an element, and two important factors must be taken into account. First, every month the sample loses 7, 2% of the mass, so you need to hurry. Second, it will eventually turn into extremely dangerous radioactive berkelium, so extreme caution is required.

Although from the point of view of science, Einsteinium has been obtained unprecedentedly, it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Moreover, chemists had to develop new methods and tools to interact with such a tiny amount of a substance. They will be very useful, because today, in fact, science knows almost nothing about Einsteinium - the world is on the verge of new discoveries.