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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::Mt
Atomic Number Atomic number::109
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::278.0 g/mol
Chemical series Transition Metal
Appearance Appearance unknown, only theoretical
Unknown Image for Meitnerium.png
Group, Period, Block 9, 7, d [1][2]
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f14 6d7 7s2 (predicted)
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 15, 2,
Electron shell meitnerium.png
CAS number CAS number::54038-01-6
Physical properties
Phase solid (presumably)[2]
Density Density::Unknown g/ml
Melting point Melting point::Unknown
Boiling point Boiling point::Unknown
Isotopes of Meitnerium
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
226Mt no data 3.4 ms - - -
265Mt none 2 ms α 11070.keV 261Bh
266Mt < or equal to 100% 1.2 ms α 10995.6keV 261Bh
267Mt none 10 ms α 10870.keV 263Bh
268Mt 100% 53 ms α 10732.keV 264Bh
269Mt none 200 ms α 10530.keV 265Bh
270Mt 100% 2 s α 10350.keV 266Bh
271Mt none 0.083 ms α 10140.keV 267Bh
272Mt none no data α 10600.keV 268Bh
273Mt none no data α 10820.keV 269Bh
274Mt 100% 0.44 ms α, SF 10500.keV 270Bh
275Mt 100% 9.7 ms α 10120.keV 271Bh
276Mt 100% 0.01 s α 11070.keV 272Bh
277Mt none no data α 9500.keV 273Bh
278Mt 100% 8 s α, SF 9100.keV 274Bh
279Mt none 0.11 s α 8700.keV 275Bh[3] [1] [4]
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Meitnerium is a chemical element named after the Austrian physicist Lise Meitner. It is the 109th element on the Periodic Table, located in period seven, group nine, and the d block as a transition metal. Meitnerium is synthetic and highly radioactive, having no stable isotopes. The element was created at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research in Germany in 1982, through the fusion of bismuth and iron atoms. Because of its extremely short lifespan, many properties of meitnerium are unknown or only theorized. No uses have ever been recognized due to the fact that only extremely small amounts of meitnerium have been produced. The element's appearance is also up for speculation for this reason. One fact that is known about meitnerium is that it is among one of the heaviest elements.


The first atom of meitnerium to be detected had a mass number of 266, thus having 157 neutrons and being 266 times heavier than hydrogen. Several other isotopes of meitnerium have since been discovered, but none of them are stable. The most stable isotope is meitnerium-278, with a half-life of eight seconds. [3][2] [5] Meitnerium itself is not a stable element, as it is highly radioactive.[6] [7] The harmful nature of the element is one of its few known characteristics. Because a scarce amount of meitnerium atoms have been synthesized, very little is known about the element. The rapidly-decaying nature of meitnerium also adds to the lack of information.[5] Numerous facts associated with the elements are unknown: density, color, atomic volume, electron affinity, electronegativity, ionization energy, oxidation states, thermal/electricity conductivity, lattice structure, known compounds, and several others.[8][1][5] [6] [9] All of these important properties have not been determined due to meitnerium's short lifespan in the laboratory.[6]

However, some of these characteristics have been predicted. For example, meitnerium's color has been said to probably be a metallic silvery white or gray. The density for its solid phase has also been predicted to be 28200 kgm-3, presuming meitnerium is a solid at room temperature (297 K). [2] The melting point is estimated to be about 2600-2900 degrees Celsius. [6] Meitnerium's electron configuration and quantum numbers are predicted based on periodic table trends, and are not confirmed. [10] One of the actually known facts about meitnerium is that it is a transitional element. Transitional metals are characterized to be ductile, malleable, and able to conduct electricity and heat; meitnerium could however, be an exception to these traits. [8] Meitnerium is also considered to be a transuranic element--an element that has an atomic number higher than uranium. These elements have a reputation of possessing extremely short life spans and needing very precise scientific instruments to be studied with. One of the most important facts about this element is it is regarded as among the heaviest of the chemical elements.[6]


A linear accelerator, called the ALS linac

The element meitnerium was synthesized, or man-made, through a method called "cold fusion".[3] [7] In this process, atoms of bismuth-209 were bombarded with nuclei of iron-58 ions using a device called a linear accelerator. [1] [5] This machine utilizes microwave technology, similarly used for radar, to accelerate electrons to a high energy. The fusion creating meitnerium occurred specifically in the ion accelerator called UNILAC (Universal Linear Accelerator). [11] [2] The chemical reaction was as follows:

209Bismuth + 58Fe → 266Mt + 1n

As demonstrated by the above equation, this resulted in one atom of the meitnerium-266 isotope, as well as one neutron. [2] [5] However, this isotope experienced radioactive decay after only five milliseconds. [7] Due to meitnerium's rapid decay, an observable amount has never been, and may never be, isolated. [2] To this day, less than ten atoms of meitnerium have ever been created.[7]


Because only small amounts of meitnerium have even been synthesized, there are currently no known uses outside of basic scientific research. [1] Scientists are yet to even successfully begin the process that could help them discover any uses of the element, due to the extreme difficulty in producing large quantities of meitnerium atoms at a time. [6]


Lise Meitner, part of the team that discovered nuclear fission and whom the element meitnerium is named after

The one hundred and ninth element of the Periodic Table was first detected on August 29th, 1982. [6] A team of scientists, led by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Müzenberg, first noticed the presence of a meitnerium atom after a week of observation at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. [7] [8] (The laboratory was also known for its German name, Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung, abbreviated GSI). [2] The team's attempted fusion of bismuth-29 and iron-58 had been successful, even with only one atom of the newly created element. The element was named Unnilennium (Une); the name's combination of Latin and Greek roots literally means, "1-0-9". [12]

However, the element's name was later changed to meitnerium (pronounced met-NEAR-ee-um) in honor of the Austrian physicist and mathematician Lise Meitner.[1] [3] [5]Although her name now remains permanently stamped on the Periodic Table, Lise Meitner is a prime example of how women and their achievements in the scientific field were overlooked by the scientific community. [6] Despite being part of the team of scientists that discovered nuclear fission, Lise did not receive a share of the Nobel Prize. [5] Instead, it was given to her colleague, Otto Han. Although she was awarded the Max Planck Medal of the German Physics Society in 1949, many felt that she should have been recognized for her work in nuclear fission.[6] Now, Lise Meitner's name bears a recognition much more longstanding than a Nobel Prize award--her own element on the Periodic Table. [10]


Martyn Poliakoff talks about meitnerium in the very room where it received its name.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Element Meitnerium Jefferson Lab'. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Meitnerium: the essentials WebElements. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bentor, Yinon. Periodic Table: Meitnerium Chemical Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  4. Isotopes of Meitnerium Periodictable. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Meitnerium Elemental Facts Chemicool. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Singha, Rajib. Meitnerium Facts Buzzle. Web. Published 20 September 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Meitnerium RSC: Royal Society of Chemistry. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Alchin, Linda. Facts About Meitnerium Findfast. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  9. Meitnerium The Periodic Table. Web. Accessed 7 October 2013.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Meitnerium Periodictable. Web Accessed 7 October 2013.
  11. Linear Accelerator Web. Accessed 8 October 2013.
  12. unnilennium The Free Dictionary. Web. Accessed 9 October 2013.