Heaviest Atoms in the Limelight

First spectroscopic investigation of element nobelium
- by GSI -
Illustration for a nobelium atom
Photo: M. Laatiaoui

The analysis of atomic spectra is of fundamental importance for our understanding of atomic structures. Until now, researchers were unable to examine heavy elements with optical spectroscopy because these elements do not occur in nature and cannot be artificially created in weighable amounts. However, scientists have now looked for the first time into the inner structure of heavy elements. For this they used short-lived nobelium atoms with a nuclear charge of Z=102, which had been produced at the GSI accelerator facility. Using laser spectroscopy the researchers investigated individual atoms of nobelium and discovered a variety of excited states. The experiment was conducted by an international collaboration under the leadership of the department Superheavy Elements Physics at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung. The collaboration included scientists from GSI, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM). ....


See full article on the GSI-Website: https://www.gsi.de/en/start/news/details/2016/09/29/heaviest-atoms-in-the-limelight.htm


Publication in the Nature-journal