Chemical Investigation of Super-Heavy Elements (SHEs)

We want to perform chemical studies of Super-heavy Elements (SHEs), which are more correctly referred to as the transactinide elements. These elements are so difficult to produce that with current technology we can only produce a single atom at a time and it will disintegrate in a few seconds or less. The work is highly challenging and performed within large international collaborations using the most sophisticated heavy-ion particle accelerators available in the world.

Basic system with one degasser and one liquid-liquid extraction stage. The chemical element to be studied follows the green path.

Current Focus

Presently, our main effort is towards building a new generation of automated equipment that will need less manpower, consume less chemicals and hence produce less waste then our old SISAK system did. This is necessary because today's experiments usually runs continuously for weeks. At the same time we want the new system to be produce more reliable data. We are also looking into how we can combine an electrochemical cell into our system to "force" a given valence state of the species we extract. The work demands expertise within a long range of fields and disciplines and provides challenges for many student projects.

We are in the process of building a test site for equipment testing and development of novel chemical systems at Rez outside Prague at the Institute for Nuclear Physics (INP). This work is done in collaboration with researchers from the Technical University of Prague (CTU) and INP.

Future SHE experiments are planned at the RIKEN accelerator facility in Japan together with a broad Japanse collaboration.

Student Opportunities

If you are looking for a challenging research topic for your BS, MSc or PhD degree, look no further! As part of this project we can make well defined student research projects suitable for all levels. Our student projects include training and education in radiochemistry.

The Old SISAK System

The SISAK is a system developed through more than 40 years for using liquid-liquid extraction to study short-lived nuclei. It consist of special built centrifuges with continueous feed and output (i.e. no batch wise operation). Its main use today is to study chemical properties of Super-Heavy Elements (SHEs). It is still the fastest system available for chemical separation of short-lived radionuclides.

Overview of SISAK system as used at LBNL in April 2005

Picture shows the SISAK setup used at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in April 2005, with five centrifuges and separate detector arrays for each phase. It's the most complex SISAK system ever run and was used to detect extraction behavior of 257Rf from sulphuric acid.


Published Oct. 6, 2011 9:43 AM - Last modified Oct. 13, 2016 1:59 PM