Periodic Table > Einsteinium
 

Terminology


Allotropes
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


Group
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.


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


Block
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.


Isotopes
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.


Sublimation
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 Actinides  Melting point 860 oC, 1580 oF, 1133.15 K 
Period Boiling point Unknown 
Block Density (kg m-3) Unknown 
Atomic number 99  Relative atomic mass 252.083  
State at room temperature Solid  Key isotopes 252Es 
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f117s2  CAS number 7429-92-7 
ChemSpider ID 22356 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.


Appearance

The description of the element in its natural form.

Uses / Interesting Facts

 
Image explanation
Einsteinium is depicted here owing to inspiration from imagery collected from early particle accelerators and those such as at Cern and Fermilab. The arrows were from one such annotated (and unattributed) image which denoted the direction of collisions. This related well to Einstein's work in combination with the abstracted "collider" patterns in the background.
Appearance
A radioactive metal, only a few milligrammes of which are made each year from plutonium in nuclear reactors.
Uses
Einsteinium has no uses outside research.
Biological role
Einsteinium has no known biological role. It is toxic due to its radioactivity.
Natural abundance
Einsteinium can be obtained in milligram quantities from the neutron bombardment of plutonium.
 
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) 2.450 Covalent radius (Å) 1.65
Electron affinity (kJ mol-1) Unknown Electronegativity
(Pauling scale)
Unknown
Ionisation energies
(kJ mol-1)
 
1st
619.435
2nd
1157.823
3rd
-
4th
-
5th
-
6th
-
7th
-
8th
-
 

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.


Sourced

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

Terminology


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.


Isotopes
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 3
Isotopes Isotope Atomic mass Natural abundance (%) Half life Mode of decay
  252Es 252.083 - 1.29 y  α 
        EC 
 

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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History

Einsteinium was discovered in the debris of the first thermonuclear explosion which took place on a Pacific atoll, on 1 November 1952. Fall-out material, gathered from a neighbouring atoll, was sent to Berkeley, California, for analysis. There it was examined by Gregory Choppin, Stanley Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, and Bernard Harvey. Within a month they had discovered and identified 200 atoms of a new element, einsteinium, but it was not revealed until 1955.


The einsteinium had formed when some uranium atoms had captured several neutrons and gone through a series of capture and decay steps resulting in einsteinium-253, which has a half-life of 20.5 days.


By 1961, enough einsteinium had been collected to be visible to the naked eye, and weighed, although it amounted to mere 10 millionths of a gram.

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Podcasts

Listen to Einsteinium Podcast
Transcript :

Chemistry in its element - einsteinium


(Promo) 

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, there's no need to even guess who this element is named after, but it's more than fame that got this element its name - Brian Clegg 

Brian Clegg 

At first glance there's nothing odd about naming element 99 in the periodic table 'einsteinium'. After all, Einstein is the most famous scientist that has ever lived. Yet fame is not usually a good enough reason to make it into the exclusive club of the elements. Although the likes of Lawrence, Rutherford, Seaborg and Bohr have been honoured, there's no Newton or Laplace, Dalton or Feynman. Not even the new saint of science, Darwin. 

The clue to Einstein's position here is that many of those with elements named after them played a fundamental role in our understanding of atomic structure. There is the odd highly doubtful case - but Einstein isn't one of them. He's not on the table because he's famous, but because he was responsible not only for relativity but for laying some of the foundations of quantum theory, which would explain how atoms interact. What's more, his study of Brownian motion was the first work to give serious weight to the idea that atoms existed at all. 

For such a great figure, einsteinium verges on being an also-ran. It's one of the actinides, the second of the floating rows of the periodic table that are numerically squeezed between radium and lawrencium. Although only tiny amounts of it have ever been made, it's enough to determine that like its near neighbours in the table it is a silvery metal. Around twenty isotopes have been produced with half lives - that's the time it takes half of the substance to decay - ranging from seconds to over a year, though the most common isotope, einsteinium 253 only has a 20 day half life. 

Apart from its name, what makes einsteinium stand out is the way it was first produced. When the Soviet Union developed its own atomic bomb, America felt it had to have something even more powerful to keep ahead. Using an atomic bomb as a trigger, the new type of device, referred to as a 'Super' would apply so much heat and pressure to the hydrogen isotope deuterium that the atoms would fuse together, just as they do in the Sun. It was to be the first thermonuclear weapon. The H bomb. 

After months of technical testing of components, the first thermonuclear bomb was ready to be tried out at a remote island location, Elugelab on the Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific. Like the innocently named Little Boy and Fat Man - the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - this bomb had a nickname. It was called 'the sausage' because of its long cylindrical shape. 

When the bomb exploded on November the first, 1952, it produced an explosion with the power of over 10 million tonnes of TNT - five hundred times the destructive power of the Nagasaki explosion, totally destroying the tiny island. This was very much a test device - weighing over 80 tons and requiring a structure around 50 feet high to support it, meaning that it could never have been deployed - but it proved, all too well, the capability of the thermonuclear weapon. And in the moments of that intense explosion it produced a brand new element. 

As part of the aftermath of the test, tonnes of material from the fallout zone were sent to Berkeley, the home of created elements, for testing. There among the ash and charred remains of coral were found a couple of hundred atoms of element 99, later to be called einsteinium. Such was the secrecy surrounding the test, the element's discovery was not made public for three years. It was in Physical Review of August the first 1955 that the discoverer Albert Ghiorso and his colleagues first suggested the name einsteinium. 

In the intense heat and pressure of the explosion, some of the uranium in the fission bomb that was used to trigger the thermonuclear inferno had been bombarded with vast numbers of neutrons, producing a scattering of heavier atoms. At the same time, neutrons in the newly formed atoms' nuclei underwent beta decay, producing an electron and a proton. So instead of just getting heavier and heavier uranium isotopes, the result was an alchemist's delight of transmutation, ending up with einsteinium 253. 

Not surprisingly, this production method is not the norm. Now, when einsteinium is required, plutonium is bombarded with neutrons in a reactor for several years until it is has taken on enough extra neutrons in the nucleus to pump it up to einsteinium. This only produces tiny amounts - in fact after its discovery it took a good 9 years before enough einsteinium had been produced to be able to see it. 

In part the tiny quantities of einsteinium that have been made reflect the difficulty of producing it. But it also receives the sad accolade of having no known uses. There really isn't any reason for making einsteinium, except as a waypoint on the route to producing something else. It's an element without a role in life. 

We started by thinking of why Einstein might be honoured by appearing in the periodic table. It's true that Albert Einstein made a huge contribution to the understanding of atoms and atomic structure. But it's hard not to see his presence in einsteinium being more because of the application of his iconic equation E=mc2 that he hated. The conversion of mass to energy in the world's most destructive weapons. 

If Einstein can be considered the father of the nuclear explosion, then einsteinium will always be the child of the bomb. 

Meera Senthilingam 

That's quite a birth to come from an atomic bomb. That was Brian Clegg with the explosive origins of einsteinium. Now next week we've got a very useful element with many roles in life, including multiple ways of protecting our health. 

Simon Cotton 

It is also used in sunscreens, since it is a very opaque white and also very good at absorbing UV light. When UV light falls upon it, it generates free electrons that react with molecules on the surface, forming very reactive organic free radicals. Now you don't want these radicals on your skin, so the TiO2 used in sunscreens is coated with a protective layer of silica or alumina. In other situations, these radicals can be a good thing, as they can kill bacteria. You can put very thin coatings of TiO2 onto glass (or other substances like tiles); these are being tested in hospitals, as a way of reducing infections. 

Meera Senthilingam 

And Simon Cotton will be bringing us more of the uses and properties of Titanium in next week's Chemistry in its Element. Until then, I'm Meera Senthilingam and thank you for listening. 

(Promo) 

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. 

(End promo) 

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References

 
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 www.matvalue.com
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.