Promethium • Lanthanide Rare Earth
Primary XPS region: Pm3d
Overlapping regions: N/A
Binding energies of common chemical states: N/A
Date of discovery: 1945
Name origin: Greek prometheus
Discoverer: J.A. Marinsky, et al.
Obtained from: fission of U, Th or Pu
Melting point: 1371 K
Boiling point: 3273 K
Molar volume: 20.23 × 10-6 m3/mol
Shell structure: 2,8,18,23,8,2
Electron configuration: [Xe]6s24f5
Oxidation state: 3
Crystal structure: hexagonal
Promethium has been found in the spectrum of the star HR465 in Andromeda, but does not occur naturally on earth. Little is known of metallic promethium’s properties; however, promethium salts glow in the dark with a pale blue or green color because they are highly radioactive. Because of its radioactivity, handling promethium requires great care, as it can emit X-rays during its beta decay. Promethium is used in a nuclear battery where photocells convert light into electric current, with a useful battery life of around five years. It is also a beta radiation source for thickness gauges. The element’s name originates from Prometheus of Greek mythology who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind.
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