Vacuum Chromatography of Tl on SiO2 at the Single-Atom Level

Patrick Steinegger, Masato Asai, Rugard Dressler, Robert Eichler, Yusuke Kaneya, Akina Mitsukai, Yuichiro Nagame, Dave Piguet, Tetsuya K. Sato, Matthias Schädel, Shinsaku Takeda, Atsushi Toyoshima, Kazuaki Tsukada, Andreas Türler, Alessio Vascon

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22 Citations (Scopus)


An isothermal vacuum chromatography setup for superheavy element chemistry studies was developed and tested online at the one-atom-at-a-time level. As a model system, the adsorption behavior of thallium on quartz was chosen with respect to a future chemical characterization of its superheavy homologue, element 113 (E113, Z = 113), using the described setup. Short-lived 184Tl (t1/2 = 10.1(5) s) was produced in the reaction 152Gd(35Cl, 3n)184Tl and delivered as a mass-separated ion beam to the chemistry experiment: A subsurface implantation and a subsequent fast thermal release from a metal matrix was followed by isothermal vacuum chromatography as the chemical separation stage. Single atomic species passing this chromatographic separation were finally identified by time- and energy-resolved event-by-event α-spectroscopy using a diamond-based solid-state detector. The derived adsorption enthalpy of -ΔHadsSiO2(Tl) = 158 ± 3 kJ·mol-1 significantly exceeds available data but correlates well with the adsorption of other elements studied on the same surface. The described technique enables chemical experiments with short-lived transactinide elements (t1/2 < 1 s), surpassing the rapidity of today's state-of-the-art gas-phase experiments by at least 1 order of magnitude. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7122-7132
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Apr 7 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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