Meitnerium is a synthetic element that is a transition metal. Not much is known about this element, but it is predicted to have similar chemical traits to the element iridium; for this reason it is sometimes referred to as eka-iridium. Meitnerium has an atomic weight of 278, and the melting points and boiling points are not known. It is predicted to have a silver or metallic color in its (presumed) solid state. There are no commercial uses for this element, nor any predicted commercial uses.
Meitnerium does not exist in nature in any form. This element can only be synthesized in minute quantities using specialized equipment and procedures.
The synthesis and isolation of meitnerium is complicated by the fact that the isotopes that can be synthesized quickly decay. The most stable isotope of meitnerium, number 276, has a half life of only 720 milliseconds. The short amount of time that this element exists before it decays further hinders scientific research on the chemical traits and properties of meitnerium.
Meitnerium was first synthesized in 1982. At this time researchers used the elements bismuth and iron. During the synthesis procedure, an isotope of bismuth, number 209, was used as a target. The target was bombarded with iron nuclei which produced an isotope, number 266, of meitnerium; one extra neutron was also produced during the procedure. The synthesis of meitnerium had great scientific implications; it proved that nuclear fusion techniques could result in the production of heavy new nuclei. The isolation of meitnerium is under serious debate as it deteriorates quickly once it is synthesized.
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