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Bk redirects here. For other uses of the abbreviation, see BK.
Berkelium (pronounced /bɚˈkiːliəm/ or /ˈbɝkliəm/) is a synthetic element with the symbol Bk and atomic number 97. A radioactive metallic element in the actinide series, berkelium was first synthesized by bombarding americium with alpha particles (helium ions) and was named after Berkeley, California and the University of California, Berkeley. Berkelium was the fifth transuranic element to be synthesized.
Weighable amounts of 249Bk (half-life 314 days) make it possible to determine some of its properties using macroscopic quantities. As of 2004 it had not been isolated in its elemental form, but it is predicted to be a silvery metal that would easily oxidize in air at elevated temperatures and would be soluble in dilute mineral acids.
X-ray diffraction techniques have been used to identify various berkelium compounds such as berkelium dioxide (BkO2), berkelium fluoride (BkF3), berkelium oxychloride (BkOCl), and berkelium trioxide (BkO3). In 1962 visible amounts of berkelium chloride (BkCl3) were isolated that weighed 3 billionths of a gram. This was the first time visible amounts of a pure berkelium compound were produced.
Like other actinides, berkelium bio-accumulates in skeletal tissue. This element has no known uses outside of basic research and plays no biological role.
Berkelium was first synthesized by Glenn T. Seaborg, Albert Ghiorso, Stanley G. Thompson, and Kenneth Street, Jr at the University of California, Berkeley in December 1949. The team used a cyclotron to bombard a milligram-sized target of 241Am with alpha particles to produce 243Bk (half-life 4.5 hours) and two free neutrons. One of the longest lived isotopes of the element, 249Bk (half-life 330 days), was later synthesized by subjecting a 244Cm target with an intense beam of neutrons.
19 radioisotopes of berkelium have been characterized, with the most stable being 247Bk with a half-life of 1380 years, 248Bk with a half-life of >9 years, and 249Bk with a half-life of 330 days. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives that are less than 5 days, and the majority of these have half-lives that are less than 5 hours. This element also has 2 meta states, with the most stable being 248mBk (t½ 23.7 hours). The isotopes of berkelium range in atomic weight from 235.057 u (235Bk) to 254.091 u (254Bk).
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Berkelium". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|