Einsteinium is a synthetic element with the symbol Es and atomic number 99. As a member of the actinide series, it is the seventh transuranic element. It was discovered as a component of the debris of the first hydrogen bomb explosion in 1952, and named after Albert Einstein. Its most common isotope einsteinium-253 (half-life 20.47 days) is produced artificially from the decay of californium-253 in a few dedicated high-power nuclear reactors with a total yield on the order of one milligram per year.
The reactor synthesis is followed by a complex process of separating einsteinium-253 from other actinides and products of their decay. Other isotopes are synthesized in various laboratories, but in much smaller amounts, by bombarding heavy actinide elements with light ions. Owing to the small amounts of produced einsteinium and the short half-life of its most easily produced isotope, there are currently almost no practical applications for it outside basic scientific research. In particular, It was used to synthesize, for the first time, 17 atoms of the new element mendelevium in 1955.
|Oxidation states||+2, +3|
|Electron configuration||[Rn]5f 117s2|
- It is a soft, silvery, paramagnetic metal. Its chemistry is typical of the late actinides, with a preponderance of the +3 oxidation state; the +2 oxidation state is also accessible, especially in solids.
- The high radioactivity of einsteinium-253 produces a visible glow and rapidly damages its crystalline metal lattice, with released heat of about 1000 watts per gram. Difficulty in studying its properties is due to einsteinium-253’s decay to berkelium-249 and then californium-249 at a rate of about 3% per day.
Uses of Es
- Only tiny amounts of einsteinium have ever been produced, it is mainly used in scientific studies.
- It is among the heaviest element on which bulk studies can be performed.
- It has a few medical uses but they are not commercial.
- It is used majorly to study radiation damage, targeted radiation medical treatments, and accelerated ageing.