The existence of an “island of stability” of nuclei has been proven experimentally

The existence of an “island of stability” of nuclei has been proven experimentally

Specialists from the Physics Institute. PN Lebedev (FIAN) and the Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry named after VI Vernadsky, while studying the debris of the meteorite, traces of natural ultra-heavy nuclei of galactic cosmic rays were discovered.

For example, superheavy elements can be produced by neutron fusion. This method is based on the irradiation of heavy nuclei with neutrons after which beta decay occurs. Then, after beta decay, a proton is formed and, of course, the charge increases by one unit. But the possibilities of this method dried up immediately after the scientists reached fermy, which is in the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements of DI Mendeleev at number 100. The thing is that in order for the following elements to be formed, large expenditures of energy were required. Based on theoretical calculations, the conditions that are necessary for the synthesis of elements can be created due to supernova explosions or in the bowels of pulsars. It should be noted that these explosions are formed as a result of the irradiation of nuclei in a neutron medium of enormous density.

Piece of pallasite Eagle Station (age 300 Ma)

Superheavy elements in the laboratory are obtained in the conditions of collision of accelerated nuclei. Naturally, the researchers wanted to observe a similar phenomenon in natural conditions. It is thanks to cosmic rays that such a possibility exists. Although it is worth noting that the very process of searching for rare heavy elements in cosmic rays, as regrettable as it may be, remains a rather difficult task. But meteorites help to solve this task. It is meteorites that are used as natural detectors. Based on their age, which on average is at least several hundred million years, a detailed analysis of even one cubic centimeter of the meteorite surface provides a sufficient amount of information about the nuclei of heavy elements.

Russian physicists used samples of two pallasites as such detectors – iron-nickel meteorites, which contain inclusions of translucent olivine crystals. These samples are unique because, for example, the age of the first of them that came to our planet in 1902 is about 185 million years, and the age of the second is 300 million years.

Due to the translucency of olivine, it is possible to study it using an optical microscope, highlighting the tracks of heavy nuclei. It should be emphasized that heavy cores in crystals as various defects in meteorite material. The geometric parameters of the tracks are in direct proportion to the particle charge. Confused only by the fact that one such dependence is not enough for the complete identification of nuclei. The reason for this deficiency is the size of the olivine crystals, which are inferior to the trace of the heavy particles.

A detailed study of pallasites made it possible for scientists to collect data on six thousand nuclei with a charge of more than 55. But the most interesting result of this study was that in olivine crystals, researchers found the tracks of three ultra-heavy nuclei of galactic cosmic rays. The charge of these nuclei falls in the range from 105 to 130. The presence of this fact dispels all doubts concerning the existence of an “island of stability” of natural transfermium nuclei.

Based on materials from ANI “FIAN-inform”

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