Periodic Table > Darmstadtium


Some elements exist in several different structural forms, these are called allotropes.

For more information on Murray Robertson’s image see Uses/Interesting Facts below.


Fact Box Terminology

Elements appear in columns or ‘groups’ in the periodic table. Members of a group typically have similar properties and electron configurations in their outer shell.

Elements are laid out into rows or ‘periods’ so that similar chemical behaviour is observed in columns.

Elements are organised into blocks by the orbital type in which the outer electrons are found. These blocks are named for the characteristic spectra they produce: sharp, principal, diffuse, and fundamental.

Atomic Number
The number of protons in the nucleus.

Atomic Radius/non -bonded (Å)
based on Van der Waals forces (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). These values were calculated using a multitude of methods including crystallographic data, gas kinetic collision cross sections, critical densities, liquid state properties, for more details please refer to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

Electron Configuration
The arrangements of electrons above the last (closed shell) noble gas.

Elements are defined by the number of protons in its centre (nucleus), whilst the number of neutrons present can vary. The variations in the number of neutrons will create elements of different mass which are known as isotopes.

Melting Point (oC)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.

Melting Point (K)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.

Melting Point (oF)
The temperature at which the solid-liquid phase change occurs.

Boiling Point (oC)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.

Boiling Point (K)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.

Boiling Point (oF)
The temperature at which the liquid-gas phase change occurs.

Elements that do not possess a liquid phase at atmospheric pressure (1 atm) are described as going through a sublimation process.

Density (kgm-3)
Density is the weight of a substance that would fill 1 m3 (at 298 K unless otherwise stated).

Relative Atomic Mass
The mass of an atom relative to that of Carbon-12. This is approximately the sum of the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Where more than one isotope exists the value given is the abundance weighted average.

Key Isotopes (% abundance)
An element must by definition have a fixed number of protons in its nucleus, and as such has a fixed atomic number, however variants of an element can exist with differing numbers of neutrons, and hence a different atomic masses (e.g. 12C has 6 protons and 6 neutrons and 13C has 6 protons and 7 neutrons).

CAS number
The Chemical Abstracts Service registry number is a unique identifier of a particular chemical, designed to prevent confusion arising from different languages and naming systems (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).

Fact Box

Group 10  Melting point Unknown 
Period Boiling point Unknown 
Block Density (kg m-3) Unknown 
Atomic number 110  Relative atomic mass 281.162  
State at room temperature Solid  Key isotopes 281Ds 
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f146d97s1  CAS number 54083-77-1 
ChemSpider ID - ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database

Interesting Facts terminology

Image Explanation

Murray Robertson is the artist behind the images which make up Visual Elements. This is where the artist explains his interpretation of the element and the science behind the picture.

Natural Abundance

Where this element is most commonly found in nature.

Biological Roles

The elements role within the body of humans, animals and plants. Also functionality in medical advancements both today and years ago.


The description of the element in its natural form.

Uses / Interesting Facts

Image explanation
Imagery based on an abstracted atomic model and trails of sub-atomic particles.
A highly radioactive metal, of which only a few atoms have ever been made.
At present, it is only used in research.
Biological role
Darmstadtium has no known biological role. It is toxic due to its radioactivity.
Natural abundance
A man-made element of which only a few atoms have ever been created, by fusing nickel and lead atoms in a heavy ion accelerator.
Atomic Data Terminology

Atomic radius/non -bonded (Å)
Based on Van der Waals forces (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). These values were calculated using a multitude of methods including crystallographic data, gas kinetic collision cross sections, critical densities, liquid state properties,for more details please refer to the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

Electron affinity (kJ mol-1)
The energy released when an additional electron is attached to the neutral atom and a negative ion is formed (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). *

Electronegativity (Pauling scale)
The degree to which an atom attracts electrons towards itself, expressed on a relative scale as a function bond dissociation energies, Ed in eV. χA - χB =(eV)-1/2sqrt(Ed(AB)-[Ed(AA)+Ed(BB)]/2), with χH set as 2.2 (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).

1st Ionisation energy (kJ mol-1)
The minimum energy required to remove an electron from a neutral atom in its ground state (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope).

Covalent radius (Å)
The size of the atom within a covalent bond, given for typical oxidation number and coordination (where several isotopes exist, a value is presented for the most prevalent isotope). ***

Atomic Data

Atomic radius, non-bonded (Å) Unknown Covalent radius (Å) 1.28
Electron affinity (kJ mol-1) Unknown Electronegativity
(Pauling scale)
Ionisation energies
(kJ mol-1)

Mining/Sourcing Information

Data for this section of the data page has been provided by the British Geological Survey. To review the full report please click here or please look at their website here.

Key for numbers generated

Governance indicators

1 (low) = 0 to 2

2 (medium-low) = 3 to 4

3 (medium) = 5 to 6

4 (medium-high) = 7 to 8

5 (high) = 9

Reserve base distribution

1 (low) = 0 to 30 %

2 (medium-low) = 30 to 45 %

3 (medium) = 45 to 60 %

4 (medium-high) = 60 to 75 %

5 (high) = 75 %

(Where data are unavailable an arbitrary score of 2 was allocated. For example, Be, As, Na, S, In, Cl, Ca and Ge are allocated a score of 2 since reserve base information is unavailable. Reserve base data are also unavailable for coal; however, reserve data for 2008 are available from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).)

Production Concentration

1 (low) = 0 to 30 %

2 (medium-low) = 30 to 45 %

3 (medium) = 45 to 60 %

4 (medium-high) = 60 to 75 %

5 (high) = 75 %

Crustal Abundance

1 (low) = 100 to 1000 ppm

2 (medium-low) =10 to 100 ppm

3 (medium) = 1 to 10 ppm

4 (medium-high) = 0.1 to 1 ppm

5 (high) = 0.1 ppm

(Where data are unavailable an arbitrary score of 2 was allocated. For example, He is allocated a score of 2 since crustal abundance data is unavailable.)

Explanations for terminology

Crustal Abundance (ppm)

The abundance of an element in the Earth's crust in parts-per-million (ppm) i.e. The number of atoms of this element per 1 million atoms of crust.


The country with the largest reserve base.

Reserve Base Distribution

This is a measure of the spread of future supplies, recording the percentage of a known resource likely to be available in the intermediate future (reserve base) located in the top three countries.

Production Concentrations

This reports the percentage of an element produced in the top three countries. The higher the value, the larger risk there is to supply.

Total Governance Factor

The World Bank produces a global percentile rank of political stability. The scoring system is given below, and the values for all three production countries were summed.

Relative Supply Risk Index

The Crustal Abundance, Reserve Base Distribution, Production Concentration and Governance Factor scores are summed and then divided by 2, to provide an overall Relative Supply Risk Index.

Supply Risk

Scarcity factor Unknown
Country with largest reserve base Unknown
Crustal abundance (ppm) Unknown
Leading producer Unknown
Reserve base distribution (%) Unknown
Production concentration (%) Unknown
Total governance factor(production) Unknown
Top 3 countries (mined)
  • Unknown
Top 3 countries (production)
  • Unknown

Oxidation states/ Isotopes

Key for Isotopes

Half Life
  y years
  d days
  h hours
  m minutes
  s seconds
Mode of decay
  α alpha particle emission
  β negative beta (electron) emission
  β+ positron emission
  EC orbital electron capture
  sf spontaneous fission
  ββ double beta emission
  ECEC double orbital electron capture


Common Oxidation states
The oxidation state of an atom is a measure of the degree of oxidation of an atom. It is defined as being the charge that an atom would have if all bonds were ionic. Free atoms have an oxidation state of 0, and the sum of oxidation numbers within a substance must equal the overall charge.

Important Oxidation states
The most common oxidation states of an element in its compounds.

Elements are defined by the number of protons in its centre (nucleus), whilst the number of neutrons present can vary. The variations in the number of neutrons will create elements of different mass which are known as isotopes.

Oxidation States / Isotopes

Common oxidation states Unknown
Isotopes Isotope Atomic mass Natural abundance (%) Half life Mode of decay
  281Ds 281.162 - 13 s  sf 

Pressure and Temperature - Advanced Terminology

Molar Heat Capacity (J mol-1 K-1)

Molar heat capacity is the energy required to heat a mole of a substance by 1 K.

Young's modulus (GPa)

Young's modulus is a measure of the stiffness of a substance, that is, it provides a measure of how difficult it is to extend a material, with a value given by the ratio of tensile strength to tensile strain.

Shear modulus (GPa)

The shear modulus of a material is a measure of how difficult it is to deform a material, and is given by the ratio of the shear stress to the shear strain.

Bulk modulus (GPa)

The bulk modulus is a measure of how difficult to compress a substance. Given by the ratio of the pressure on a body to the fractional decrease in volume.

Vapour Pressure (Pa)

Vapour pressure is the measure of the propensity of a substance to evaporate. It is defined as the equilibrium pressure exerted by the gas produced above a substance in a closed system.

Pressure / Temperature - Advanced

Molar heat capacity
(J mol-1 K-1)
Unknown Young's modulus (GPa) Unknown
Shear modulus (GPa) Unknown Bulk modulus (GPa) Unknown
Vapour pressure  
Temperature (K)
400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
Pressure (Pa)
- - - - - - - - - - -
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There are 15 known isotopes of darmstadtium, isotopes 267-281, and the heaviest is the longest-lived, with a half-life of 4 minutes.

There were several attempts to make element 110 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) at Dubna in Russia, and at the German Geselleschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) at Darmstadt, but all were unsuccessful. Then Albert Ghiorso and his team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), California, obtained isotope 267 by bombarding bismuth with cobalt, but they could not confirm their findings.

In 1994, a team headed by Yuri Oganessian and Vladimir Utyonkov at the JINR made isotope-273 by bombarding plutonium with sulfur. The same year, a team headed by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Munzenberg at the GSI bombarded lead with nickel and synthesised isotope 269. The latter group’s evidence was deemed more reliable and confirmed by others around the world, so they were allowed to name element 110.

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Listen to Darmstadtium Podcast
Transcript :

Chemistry in its element - darmstadtium


You're listening to Chemistry in its element brought to you by Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry 

(End promo) 

Meera Senthilingam 

This week, an element that brings fleeting moments of wonder. Here's Brian Clegg.

Brian Clegg

I've a coffee cup on my desk, a Christmas present from my niece, inscribed with the periodic table. There, at element 110 beneath platinum, is the clumsy and practically unpronounceable ununnilium - just a fancy way of saying 'one one oh - ium'. A range of artificial elements were originally given placeholder names like this back in 1979 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the body that controls the naming of chemical elements.

Often this was because there was a dispute over just who had discovered the element and got the honour of naming it, but now, I'm glad to say, element 110 has a more manageable name, darmstadtium and my mug is out of date.

This is one of the transfermium elements, the discontinuous block above element 100 that takes in a couple of the actinides and the row that continues after the actinides with lawrencium. If there is one thing that typifies darmstadtium it's that it is an element of speed. The first isotope discovered, darmstadtium 269, has a minuscule half life of just 270 microseconds. Before you can cry out in triumph 'We've made darmstadtium!' it is long gone.

This brevity contributed to the disputes over who first made element 110. It was claimed by both the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia in 1987 and by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1991, but there was considerable doubt about both claims. Darmstadtium was to get its name after the location of the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung, roughly translating as the 'centre for heavy ion research'. 

Usually contracted to the more easily pronounced GSI, and part of the impressively named German government group of establishments the Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren, the GSI is located at Darmstadt in Germany. The alternative name of wixhausium was briefly considered for the element, after Wixhausen, the part of Darmstadt where the institute is located, but darmstadtium was considered to have a better ring to it.

In 1994, at the GSI, an international team slammed high energy nickel ions into a lead target. The group, led by Sigurd Hofmann, included German physicists Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg, a pair who between them have brought six of the transfermium elements into existence. Despite throwing in 3 trillion ions per second, just 3 atoms of darmstadtium 269 were produced, decaying to hassium, seaborgium and rutherfordium in the blink of an eye.

To date, a handful of other isotopes have been made, all blinking out of existence before there's a chance to investigate their properties. There is some dispute over just what the half-lives are, but the longest is probably darmstadtium 281 at 11 seconds. The expectation, if we could study a piece of darmstadtium is that this would be a silvery metal, not unlike platinum in behaviour - but short of slowing down time, no one is going to get a chance to see.

It's worth taking a closer look at just how darmstadtium was brought into being. Like all the elements heavier than uranium, it does not exist at all in nature. Up to around the element 100 mark, the heavier elements can be produced by pumping in neutrons, which undergo beta decay, giving off an electron, to add extra protons to the nucleus. But for heavier atoms still, like darmstadtium, it is necessary to slam particles like the nickel ions used here into a nucleus at velocities around 10 per cent of the speed of light, giving them enough energy to overcome the powerful electromagnetic repulsion of the nucleus, and allowing fusion to take place.

The nickel ions were accelerated by UNILAC, short for 'universal linear accelerator' a 120 metre long straight acceleration chamber at the GSI where a series of powerful electromagnets blast charged particles along at higher and higher speeds. The vast majority of collisions fail, but just occasionally the nuclei fuse, typically losing a small number of neutrons and settle down to a short-lived new element. In the case of darmstadtium, the nucleus soon emits alpha particles - helium nuclei consisting of two protons and two neutrons bound together -  which  transforms the darmstadtium into its longer-lived decay products.

With so many trillions of particles being shot down the accelerator, it is a difficult task to separate the very few products where fusion has taken place. This is the job of a second piece of technology called SHIP, the Separator for Heavy Ion reactor Products. SHIP acts as a filter - by balancing electric and magnetic fields very precisely, only the particular heavy reaction products, in our case, darmstadtium, that are selected for get through without being deflected out of the way.

Rather confusingly, despite its short-lived nature, you may find yourself taking a visit to Darmstadtium or even holding a meeting there. This is because the town of Darmstadt took the name from the element for its science and meetings building - in essence a convention centre - opened in 2008.

If elements were insects, darmstadtium would be the mayfly of the chemical world. It exists for the most fleeting time before it transforms to something else. Darmstadium is never going to have a practical use - but its sheer brevity of existence gives it a wistful fascination.

Meera Senthilingam 

So its lack of application is made up for by the wistful wonder of its chemistry. That was science writer, Brian Clegg, with the fast paced chemistry of darmstadium.

Now next week, we get minty fresh.

Lars Ohrstrom

If you chew gum, you will most likely encounter another result of rhodium catalysis, menthol. Originally extracted from different species of mint plants, the demand for this substance, with its characteristic minty scent, far exceeds the natural sources and it is now produced in several thousand tonnes a year in the process devised by Japanese Nobel Prize winner Ryoji Noyori.

Meera Senthilingam 

And for other uses of the rare element, rhodium, join Lars Ohrstrom in next weeks Chemistry in its element and until then, I'm Meera Senthilingam and thank you for listening.


Chemistry in its element is brought to you by the Royal Society of Chemistry and produced by thenakedscientists dot com. There's more information and other episodes of Chemistry in its element on our website at chemistryworld dot org forward slash elements. 

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Images:  Visual Elements © Murray Robertson 2011
Mining and Sourcing data:  British Geological Survey – natural environment research council.
Text:  John Emsley Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2011.
Additional information for platinum, gold, neodymium and dysprosium obtained from Material Value Consultancy Ltd
Data: CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press, 92nd Edition, 2011.
G. W. C. Kaye and T. H. Laby Tables of Physical and Chemical Constants, Longman, 16th Edition, 1995.
Members of the RSC can access these books through our library.