Palo Alto, Calif.
Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science
54 (2004), S. 175-215
Annual Reviews Electronic Back Volume Collection 1932-2001ff
One can extract unique information about the nuclear interaction from the study of the heaviest elements. They exist solely on the basis of quantum effects, which create a barrier against spontaneous fission. The important questions concern the end of the periodic table and the location of the next closed nucleon shells. Considerable progress was achieved during the past few years in structure studies in this region. This was made possible by the development of detector systems for decay and in-beam studies using recoil separators and heavy ion fusion reactions. We concentrate on these developments and on recent results from structure studies in the region from einsteinium to dubnium. We present recent data on the elements 110 (darmstadtium), 111, and 112, and discuss claims for the synthesis of even heavier elements. We discuss the implications of these studies for predicting the location of the next spherical shells and give a brief outlook on the future.
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