New technology to study “fantastic” super tech elements

Laser resonance chromatography will initially be used to investigate Lawrenceium, element 103. Credit: Mustafa Latayoui

Methodology of merging physics and chemistry for optical spectroscopy of superheavy elements.

Superheavy elements are tricky atoms and atomic quantum systems that challenge experimental investigations because they do not occur in nature and, when synthesized, disappear within seconds. Successful development of rapid atomic spectroscopy techniques with extreme sensitivity is required, pushing nuclear physics research to the forefront of these elements. Dr. from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). A joint effort led by Mustafa Latiaoi culminated in an optical spectroscopy proposal: so-called laser resonance chromatography (LRC) should also enable such investigations. In minute production quantities. The proposal has recently appeared in two articles. Physical review letter And Physical Review.

Superheavy elements (SHE) are found at the bottom of the periodic table of elements. They represent a fertile ground for the development of understanding how such foreign atoms can exist and function when a large number of electrons in atomic nuclei and protons and neutrons in nuclei come together. Insight into their electronic structure can be gained from optical spectroscopy experiments that unveil element-specific emission spectra. These spectra are powerful benchmarks for modern atomic-model calculations and can be useful for example when it comes to searching for traces of even heavier elements, which can be formed in the events of neutron-star mergers.

LRC approach combines various methods

Although SHEs were discovered decades ago, their investigations by optical spectroscopy devices lack much behind synthesis. This is because they are produced at extremely low rates, at which traditional methods do not work. Until now, nobelium in optical spectroscopy periodic table ends at element 102. “Current technologies are at the limit of what is possible,” Laatiaoui explained. By the next heavy element, the physicochemical properties abruptly change and provide samples in suitable atomic states. “

Laser resonance chromatography

Laser resonance chromatography is based on optical excitation of ions and their arrival detection on the detector. Sincerely: Mustafa Latiaoui

Together with research colleagues, physicists have developed new LRC approaches in optical spectroscopy. It combines the element selectivity and spectral accuracy of laser spectroscopy with ion-mobility mass spectrometry and combines the benefits of a high sensitivity with the “simplicity” of optical probes in laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy. Its major idea is to detect the products of resonant optical excitations, which are not normally based on fluorescent light, but their specific drift time for a particle detector.

In their theoretical work, the researchers focused on the lonely charged Lawrenceium, element 103, and its mild chemical homolog. But the concept provides access to laser spectroscopy of many other monoatomic ions in the periodic table, particularly in transition metals that include high-temperature refractory metals and elements beyond laurenium. Ionic species such as other charged thorium would also be within reach of the LRC approach. Furthermore, the method enables optimizing the signal-to-noise ratio and thus minimizing ion mobility spectrometry, state-selected ion chemistry, and other applications.

Dr. Mustafa Latiaoui attended Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) in February 2018. At the end of 2018, he received an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), one of the EU’s most valuable funding grants. For his research into the heaviest elements using laser spectroscopy and ion mobility spectroscopy. Current publications also include work that Latiaoi has previously done at GSI Helmholtzentrum für Schwerienforschung in Darmstadt and KU Leuven in Belgium.


Mustafa Latiaoui, Alexei A. Buchenko and Larry A. “Laser Resonance Chromatography of Superheavy Elements” by Weiheland, 10 July 2020 Physical review letter.
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.125.023002

Mustafa Latiaoi, Alexey A. Buchenko and Larry A. 10 July 2020, “Exploiting the transport properties for the detection of optical pumping in heavy ions” by Weiheld. Physical Review.
DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevA.102.013106

This work was done in collaboration with the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and Alexander of the Problem of Chemical Physics, Alexey A. Butchchenko, Larry A. of Moscow, Russia, and Chatham University, Pittsburgh, USA. Was done in collaboration with Weheld.

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