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First ionization potentials of Fm, Md, No and Lr; Verification of filling-up of 5f electrons and confirmation of the actinide series

Sato, Tetsuya

We conducted measurements of the first ionization potential (IP$$_1$$) of the heavy actinide elements, lawrencium (Lr, $$Z = 103$$), nobelium (No, $$Z = 102$$), mendelevium (Md, $$Z = 101$$) and fermium (Fm, $$Z = 100$$) by using a novel method based on a surface ionization process. The IP$$_1$$ measurements have been performed using the ISOL (Isotope Separator On-Line) system equipped with a surface ion-source with short-lived heavy actinide isotopes, $$^{256}$$Lr ($$T_{1/2}$$ = 27s), $$^{257}$$No ($$T_{1/2}$$ = 24.5s), $$^{251}$$Md ($$T_{1/2}$$ = 4.27 min), and $$^{249}$$Fm ($$T_{1/2}$$ = 2.6 min). Our experimental results clearly showed that the IP$$_1$$ of Lr is distinctly low among actinide elements. Moreover, No has the highest IP$$_1$$ among them due to its full-filled 5f and 7s orbitals; the IP$$_1$$ value increased with an atomic number up to No and decreased dramatically at Lr, indicating the similar trend with that of heavy lanthanide elements. Therefore, we concluded Lr would be the last member of the actinide series.

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