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Fleeting Heavy Atoms

  1. Apr 9, 2015 #1
    I read about scientists creating new heavy elements such 117 and that the properties of such exotic elements are mostly unknown because the scientist have just microseconds before they decay. Would it be at all possible to bond some new molecule with the heavy atom and some other appropriate atom before it decayed? Is there a chance it would last long enough to study as a molecule?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2015 #2


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    This is getting into the frankly incredible field of single-atom chemistry. If the dynamics of the molecule formation is shorter than the lifetime of the superheavy element, then sure, you can do it (and I'm no chemist, but I'm pretty sure the dynamics are short enough). I don't think it would be the near-term focus of single atom chemistry though - as you say, there is plenty of unknown chemical properties before we start thinking about how they play in molecules.

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