Experiments at the Limits of Stability

Exploring physical and chemical properties of the heaviest elements -
the actinides and the transactinides.

Elements beyond fermium are only available in atom-at-a-time quantities, procuded in the nuclear reaction of an accelerated heavy ion with a suitable target. They are studied at GSI Darmstadt using the TransActinide Separator and Chemistry Apparatus TASCA, employing beams accelerated by the UNILAC accelerator. Our studies focus on the investigation and optimization of the production of heavy isotopes, on elucidating their nuclear structure, thus mapping the island of stability of superheavy elements, and on chemically characterizing the heaviest known elements in respect to their lighter homologs to study the evolution of the periodic table.

Actinide elements up to fermium can be produced in macroscopic quantities in suitable high-flux research reactors. Samples of these elements are of interest in a variety of research programs in the basic sciences. Our group at Mainz University contributes to various collaborations via the production, purification and characterization of tailor-made actinide samples.