Berkelium:

The 60-inch cyclotron at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, which was used to produce Berkelium for the first time.

Facts about Berkelium:

  • Berkelium: Silvery-white metal
  • Fun fact about Berkelium: Because of its relatively long half-life, berkelium-249 is used as a starting material for the production of higher atomic number actinides.
  • Chemical symbol: Bk
  • Atomic number: 97

A crystal structure containing Berkelium:

Image showing Berklium (III), represented as purple, surrounded by three dipicolinate ligands producing a tricapped, trigonal prismatic coordination geometry.

Facts about this structure:

  • Formula: C21 H12 Bk N3 O12,1.5(H2 O)
  • Structure name:tris(hydrogen 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylato)-berkelium(iii) sesquihydrate
  • Fun fact about the structure: This structure was the first single-crystal structure containing berkelium added to the Cambridge Structural Database
  • CSD refcode: EVAQUP (What's this?)
  • Associated publication: M.A.Silver, S.K.Cary, J.A.Johnson, R.E.Baumbach, A.A.Arico, M.Luckey, M.Urban, J.C.Wang, M.J.Polinski, A.Chemey, Guokui Liu, Kuan-Wen Chen, S.M.Van Cleve, M.L.Marsh, T.M.Eaton, L.J.van de Burgt, A.L.Gray, D.E.Hobart, K.Hanson, L.Maron, F.Gendron, J.Autsch, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3762

More info:

Actinides possess interesting electronic and spectroscopic properties partly due to the emergence of the relativistic effect and high magnetic anisotropy. While they often exhibit fascinating properties, very heavy elements often have highly unstable nuclei, resulting in short half-lives. While berkelium has a relatively long half-life compared to late-actinides, it decays to the extremely hazardous californium-249, which has limited studies of the element. In fact, despite being first discovered in 1949, a single-crystal structure containing Bk was not submitted to the Cambridge Structural Database until 2016. In order to conduct all the necessary measurements on the sample within 24 hours of crystallization, researchers choreographed for months before receiving just 13 mg of Bk starting material!

More info about the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in crystals project:

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A visualisation showing the structure containing Berkelium alongside other structures published in the same scientific article: