The Jeuns

Newly Unveiled Uses of Promethium Uncovered by Scientists in 1945

May 31, 2024 | by The Jeuns

The Periodic Table of Elements has long been a symbol of human exploration and understanding of the chemical world. However, there are still mysteries surrounding some elements, including Promethium.

First discovered 80 years ago, Promethium is a rare earth metal with the atomic number 61. Despite its presence in various technologies, much about its chemical properties remained unknown until recently. Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed a new process that allowed them to create a pure isotope of Promethium-147, enabling a deeper study of its bonding properties using X-ray spectroscopy.

The results of this study, published in the journal Nature, shed light on Promethium’s unique characteristics. The discovery of a clear “promethium signal” will not only aid in producing larger quantities of this rare element but also in separating it from other lanthanides, thanks to the phenomenon of “lanthanide contraction.”

Understanding Promethium’s bonding properties is crucial for advancing technologies that rely on rare earth metals. By unraveling the secrets of this elusive element, scientists are paving the way for more efficient use of lanthanides in modern technologies.

The journey to uncovering the mysteries of Promethium is a testament to the ongoing exploration and discovery within the world of chemistry. As scientists continue to delve into the properties of elements, the Periodic Table of Elements remains a dynamic and evolving story of scientific progress.


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