Chemical Fact Sheet


Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #) 53850-36-5
Analytical Methods 200.8 - 6020
Atomic Symbol Rf

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

Rutherfordium — (Ernest Rutherford [1871–1937], New Zealand, Canadian, and British physicist); Rf; at. wt. [261]; at. no. 104. In 1964, workers of the Joint Nuclear Research Institute at Dubna (Russia) bombarded plutonium with accelerated 113 to 115 MeV neon ions. By measuring fission tracks in a special glass with a microscope, they detected an isotope that decays by spontaneous fission. They suggested that this isotope, which has a half-life of 0.3 ± 0.1 s, might be 260104, produced by the following reaction: 94 242 10 Pu+22 Ne→260 104 + 4n Element 104, the first transactinide element, is expected to have chemical properties similar to those of hafnium. It would, for example, form a relatively volatile compound with chlorine (a tetrachloride). The Soviet scientists have performed experiments aimed at chemical identification, and have attempted to show that the 0.3-s activity is more volatile than that of the relatively nonvolatile actinide trichlorides. This experiment does not fulfill the test of chemically separating the new element from all others, but it provides important evidence for evaluation. New data, reportedly issued by Soviet scientists, have reduced the half-life of the isotope they worked with from 0.3 to 0.15 s. The Dubna scientists suggest the name kurchatovium and symbol Ku for Element 104, in honor of Igor Vasilevich Kurchatov (1903–1960), late Head of Soviet Nuclear Research. The Dubna Group also has proposed the name dubnium for Element 104. In 1969, Ghiorso, Nurmia, Harris, K. A. Y. Eskola, and P. I. Eskola of the University of California at Berkeley reported they had positively identified two, and possibly three, isotopes of Element 104. The group also indicated that after repeated attempts so far they have been unable to produce isotope 260104 reported by the Dubna groups in 1964. The discoveries at Berkeley were made by bombarding a target of 249Cf with 12C nuclei of 71 MeV, and 13C nuclei of 69 MeV. The combination of 12C with 249Cf followed by instant emission of four neutrons produced Element 257104. This isotope has a half-life of 4 to 5 s, decaying by emitting an alpha particle into 253No, with a half-life of 105 s. The same reaction, except with the emission of three neutrons, was thought to have produced 258104 with a half-life of about 1/100 s. Element 259104 is formed by the merging of a 13C nuclei with 249Cf, followed by emission of three neutrons. This isotope has a half-life of 3 to 4 s, and decays by emitting an alpha particle into 255No, which has a half-life of 185 s. Thousands of atoms of 257104 and 259104 have been detected. The Berkeley group believes its identification of 258104 was correct. Eleven isotopes of Element 104 have now been identified. The Berkeley group proposed the name rutherfordium (symbol Rf) for the new element, in honor of Ernest Rutherford. This name was formally adapted by IUPAC in August 1997.

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