109 MEITNERIUM Mt (Meitner - scientist)

An artificially produced, highly unstable, transuranic element with no detectable natural occurrence on Earth. Alpha-alpha correlation, in which the alpha decay of the unknown isotope and that of its alpha decay products are correlated in time, can be used to positively identify short lived isotopes and was used by Peter Armbruster at the Heavy Ion research centre at GSI in Germany to identify meitnerium. Meitnerium was first reported to have been made by bombarding a target of bismuth-209 with accelerated ions of iron-58. It took a week to make one atom of element meitnerium-266, which decayed by alpha emission to neilsbohrium-262 in 5 milliseconds, which again decayed by alpha emission to hahnium-258, which decayed by electron capture to rutherfordium-258. Nuclear reactions using berkelium-249 or einsteinium-254 targets with neon or oxygen projectiles have been suggested for some time to reach the heavier, neutron-rich isotopes of neilsbohrium and meitnerium near the region of extra stability, but has never been funded because of enormous cost. It was only named meitnerium in 1993.

Recently, in December 1994, meitnerium-268 was briefly observed by the team at GSI, Darmstadt, which originated from the alpha decay of element 111-272.

The isotope with the longest known halflife of meitnerium is meitnerium-266 with a very short halflife of 3.4 milliseconds decaying by alpha decay into the alpha decaying neilsbohrium-262 which has a halflife of just 115 milliseconds.

Altogether, just two isotopes of meitnerium are at present known, meitnerium-266 and meitnerium-268.

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