Meitnerium (Mt) Element: Important Properties, Discovery, Uses, Effects

Meitnerium is a synthetic transition metal with an atomic number of 109 and is represented by the symbol ‘Mt’ in the periodic table. It is silvery in appearance and belongs to the d-block of period 7 of the periodic table. Meitnerium was the fourth transactinide (super-heavy) element identified. Only tiny quantities of Meitnerium have been successfully synthesized, hence there isn’t much known about it based on experimental data, but some qualities can be predicted using periodic table trends.

Meitnerium (Mt) Element
Meitnerium (Mt) Element

Meitnerium was initially synthesized in 1982, by researchers supervised by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenber at the Heavy Ion Research Laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany. The element was given the name honoring physicist Lise Meitner, a pioneer of nuclear fission.

Discovery and History of Meitnerium

  • Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenber made the initial synthetic discovery of Meitnerium (Mt) at Darmstadt, Germany.
  • Based at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research Laboratory, the researchers discovered the element by hitting Bismuth-209 with an accelerated Iron-58 nucleus.
  • Just a single atom of the isotope Meitnerium-266 was detected after bombarding a bismuth-209 target with accelerated iron-58 nuclei.
  • This method not only created a new element, but it also resulted in an earlier successful demonstration.
  • Using Mendeleev’s nomenclature practices, the element was expected to be termed “eka-iridium.”
  • In September of 1992, the GSI team recommended a use to the name Meitnerium (Mt) in the honor of the esteemed Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, who was pioneering researcher in nuclear fission and co-discoverer of protactinium alongside Otto Hahn.
  • The IUPAC subsequently approved the name, and it became official in 1997.

Occurrence of Meitnerium

  • Meitnerium (Mt) is not found naturally in the Earth’s crust; it must be synthesized in particle accelerators. It cannot even be manufactured in a nuclear reactor.
  • ‘Mt’ does not exist in nature. It is synthetically produced in limited quantities.
  • It originates using nuclear bombardment and has only been produced in trace amounts.
  • Meitnerium was created by hitting 209Bi with 58Fe, yielding a single atom of the isotope 266Mt.
  • Meitnerium contains seven isotopes having known half-lives ranging in mass from 266 to 278.

Elemental Properties of Meitnerium

Electronic Configuration[Rn] 5f14 6d7 7s2
Atomic Number109
Atomic Weight276 g.mol -1
State at 20°CSolid
Group, Period, and BlockTrans-actinides, 7, d-block
Density37.40 g/cm3 (estimated)
Ionic radius
Van der Waals radius
Electron shells2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 15, 2 (estimated)

Isotopic Information of Meitnerium

  • Meitnerium has no stable isotopes naturally, but they can be created in a laboratory setting.
  • All of the Meitnerium isotope are unstable and radioactive.
  • Meitnerium contains nine isotopes with known half-lives: 266Mt, 268Mt, 270Mt, 271Mt, 274Mt, 275Mt, 276Mt, 277Mt, and 278Mt.
  • The heavier isotopes are more resistant to change than lighter ones.
  • The most stable isotope, meitnerium-278, has a half-life of 7.6 seconds.
  • The majority of radioisotopes decay by emitting alpha particles, however others experience spontaneous fission.
  • Mt-237 decays producing bohrium-274 through alpha decay.
  • Researchers assumed Mt-271 would be a highly stable isotope since it has 162 neutrons (a “magic number”), however Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s efforts to synthesis this isotope in 2002-2003 failed.

Physical Properties of Meitnerium

  • The instability of Meitnerium makes it difficult to conduct a statistically significant investigation of its physical properties.
  • Due to its rapid disintegration, only few properties of Meitnerium have been investigated until now.
  • Meitnerium is a synthetic, super-heavy transactinide element. It is expected to be a solid under normal conditions.
  • It is projected that all elements from 104 to 111 will display fourth transition metal characteristics. This series also includes meitnerium, which is a platinum group metal.
  • It is found in the 7th period, the 9th Group, and the d-block of the periodic table.
  • The melting point and the boiling point of the element 109 is yet to be known.
  • The atomic mass of Meitnerium is 276. The atomic mass of man-made trans-uranium elements is calculated using the periodic table’s longest-lived isotope. These atomic weights should be considered tentative because a new isotope with a longer half-life may be created in the future.
  • Meitnerium is expected to be a solid under normal conditions. It is projected to have an extremely high density of around 37.40 g/cm3, making it the second heaviest of all 118 existing elements.
  • Meitnerium is identical to iridium in terms of ionic and atomic radii, as well as ionization potential.
  • Meitnerium is expected to have a face-centered cubic structure.
  • Meitnerium is expected to be paramagnetic in nature.
  • The longest-living Meitnerium isotope has a half-life of 4.5 seconds.
  • All meitnerium isotopes have very short half-lives, making it difficult to anticipate their properties.
  • Apart from nuclear properties, no physical features of Roentgenium have been researched so far due to the short half-life of all of its isotope and the high cost of production.

Chemical Properties of Meitnerium

  • The features of meitnerium that have been investigated are solely connected to experimental chemistry. The majority of the attributes are purely theoretically determined.
  • It is considered to be a noble metal based on its features and may resemble silver in terms of nobleness. (The chemical elements that exist in solid metal form, are exceptionally resistant to oxidation and high temperatures, have anti-corrosive properties, and do not react strongly with acids.)
  • Meitnerium is the sole element in the periodic table whose chemistry has yet to be understood.
  • There have been no experimental measurements of Roentgenium compounds, and all known predictions are theoretical.
  • Scientific research suggests that it may have qualities similar to Group 9 elements such as Cobalt (Co), iridium, and Rhodium (Rh).
  • Meitnerium is the seventh member of the 6d series of transition metals.
  • It belongs to the ninth and seventh periods of the periodic table.
  • It is expected to react rapidly with Oxygen(O), producing a highly volatile tetroxide.
  • The most stable oxidation states for meitnerium have been proposed to be +6, +1, and +3.
  • Meitnerium compounds in aqueous solution are expected to be most stable with an oxidation state of +3.
  • This element’s tetrahalides have similar stability to iridium, allowing for a potential +4 state.

Synthesis of Meitnerium

  • All elements with atomic numbers more than 100 can only be created through reactions in a particle accelerator, such as a cyclotron; they do not develop in a nuclear reactor.
  • Bismuth (Bi)-209 blasted with ferrous-58 produces meitnerium-266.

Uses of Meitnerium

  • Given barely any atoms of this metal have been created to date, there are currently no specific or exclusive uses of Meitnerium outside of scientific research.
  • Furthermore, because it is unavailable in nature, Meitnerium is only employed by scientific researchers, with no recognized negative effects or uses for the metal among individuals and organizations
  • A consistent scientific experiment intended to deliver an evident outcome requires a large number of atoms of the same element. However, only 10 atoms of Meitnerium have been synthesized on a large scale thus far.
  • Mt has very restricted functions. Some of its adequately flammable chemical constituents are Meitnerium hexafluoride (MtF6) and its analog, iridium hexafluoride (IrF6).
  • 70Mt, as observed in the 278Nh decaying method, has a half-life of 0.69 seconds, making it suitable for experimentation. But even that requires the development of a direct production technique, that’s still to be accomplished.

Health Effects of Meitnerium

  • Meitnerium is a very unstable chemical; when created, it swiftly decomposes into other elements, therefore it does not influence human health.

Environmental Effects of Meitnerium

  • Meitnerium’s environmental effects are negligible due to its short half-life (just a few seconds).

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Jyoti Bashyal

Jyoti Bashyal, a graduate of the Central Department of Chemistry, is an avid explorer of the molecular realm. Fueled by her fascination with chemical reactions and natural compounds, she navigates her field's complexities with precision and passion. Outside the lab, Jyoti is dedicated to making science accessible to all. She aspires to deepen audiences' understanding of the wonders of various scientific subjects and their impact on the world by sharing them with a wide range of readers through her writing.

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