Chemical Fact Sheet


Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 22537-19-5
Analytical Methods 200.8 - 6020
Atomic Symbol Lr

Synopsis from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 92nd Edition 2011-2013

Lawrencium — (Ernest O. Lawrence [1901–1958], inventor of the cyclotron), Lr; at. no. 103; at. mass no. [262]; valence + 3(?). This member of the 5f transition elements (actinide series) was discovered in March 1961 by A. Ghiorso, T. Sikkeland, A. E. Larsh, and R. M. Latimer. A 3-μg californium target, consisting of a mixture of isotopes of mass number 249, 250, 251, and 252, was bombarded with either 10B or 11B. The electrically charged transmutation nuclei recoiled with an atmosphere of helium and were collected on a thin copper conveyor tape which was then moved to place collected atoms in front of a series of solid-state detectors. The isotope of element 103 produced in this way decayed by emitting an 8.6-MeV alpha particle with a half-life of 8 s. In 1967, Flerov and associates of the Dubna Laboratory reported their inability to detect an alpha emitter with a half-life of 8 s which was assigned by the Berkeley group to 257103. This assignment has been changed to 258Lr or 259Lr. In 1965, the Dubna workers found a longer-lived lawrencium isotope, 256Lr, with a half-life of 35 s. In 1968, Ghiorso and associates at Berkeley were able to use a few atoms of this isotope to study the oxidation behavior of lawrencium. Using solvent extraction techniques and working very rapidly, they extracted lawrencium ions from a buffered aqueous solution into an organic solvent, completing each extraction in about 30 s. It was found that lawrencium behaves differently from dipositive nobelium and more like the tripositive elements earlier in the actinide series. Ten isotopes of lawrencium are now recognized.

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