An Overview about the Chemical Element Darmstadtium


Symbol: Ds

Atomic Number: 110

Atomic Mass: 281 amu (atomic mass units)

Melting Point: Unknown

Boiling Point: Unknown

Number of Protons: 110

Number of Electrons: 110

Number of Neutrons: 171

Classification: Transition Metal (Man made)

Crystal Structure: Unknown

Density @ 293 K: Unknown

Color: Unknown

The radioactive, man-made element darmstadtium first came into existence at 4:39 pm on the 9th November 1994. It was produced by the team of scientists led by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Munzenber based at the Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt, Germany. Originally the element was given the temporary name Ununnilium, meaning one-one-zero, with the symbol Uun. This was in accordance with the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) system for the naming of new elements. The name Darmstadtium, along with the symbol Ds, was confirmed at the IUPAC meeting in August 2003 to honor of the town in which the element was found.

Man-made super-heavy elements such as Darmstadtium are made by firing ions of one element at the atoms of another. The first atom of Darmstadtium-269 was produced after firing over a billion, billion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) nickel ions at a target made of lead. This took over a week and used the heavy ion accelerator UNILAC at Darmstadt. It was the fourth super-heavy element to be found by the team. They had already produced the elements bohrium, hassium and meitnerium. The team has since gone on to produce two other such elements with atomic numbers 111(unununium or roentgenium) and 112 (ununbium).

With so few atoms being produced the bulk properties such as the melting point boiling point and density of darmstadtium are still unknown. From its position in the periodic table it has been deduced that the element should be metallic in nature and grey/white in color.

Ten unstable isotopes of darmstadtium have been produced to date. The most stable isotope is darmstadtium-281 with a half life of 1.1 minutes. Darmstadtium-281 decays by alpha decay to form hassium-277. The other isotopes also decay by alpha decay except darmstadtium-272 which undergoes spontaneous fission. The isotopes darmastadium-277 and darmastadium-279 can decay by both alpha decay and spontaneous fission. Darmastadium-267 has the shortest half life of all the isotopes at 3 microseconds.

Darmstadtium has no industrial uses. With its very short half life, radioactive nature and so few atoms being produced it is highly unlikely that it will ever be of value outside of scientific research.