Synthesis and detection of a seaborgium carbonyl complex

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Science  19 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6203, pp. 1491-1493
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255720

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A carbonyl compound that tips the scales

Life is short for the heaviest elements. They emerge from high-energy nuclear collisions with scant time for detection before they break up into lighter atoms. Even et al. report that even a few seconds is long enough for carbon to bond to the 106th element, seaborgium (see the Perspective by Loveland). The authors used a custom apparatus to direct the freshly made atoms out of the hot collision environment and through a stream of carbon monoxide and helium. They compared the detected products with theoretical modeling results and conclude that hexacarbonyl Sg(CO)6 was the most likely structural formula.

Science, this issue p. 1491; see also p. 1451


Experimental investigations of transactinoide elements provide benchmark results for chemical theory and probe the predictive power of trends in the periodic table. So far, in gas-phase chemical reactions, simple inorganic compounds with the transactinoide in its highest oxidation state have been synthesized. Single-atom production rates, short half-lives, and harsh experimental conditions limited the number of experimentally accessible compounds. We applied a gas-phase carbonylation technique previously tested on short-lived molybdenum (Mo) and tungsten (W) isotopes to the preparation of a carbonyl complex of seaborgium, the 106th element. The volatile seaborgium complex showed the same volatility and reactivity with a silicon dioxide surface as those of the hexacarbonyl complexes of the lighter homologs Mo and W. Comparison of the product’s adsorption enthalpy with theoretical predictions and data for the lighter congeners supported a Sg(CO)6 formulation.

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