2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Chemical elements

85 poloniumastatineradon


( Uus)
Periodic Table - Extended Periodic Table
Name, Symbol, Number astatine, At, 85
Chemical series halogens
Group, Period, Block 17, 6, p
Appearance metallic (presumed)
Atomic mass (210) g/mol
Electron configuration [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p5
Electrons per shell 2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 7
Physical properties
Phase solid
Melting point 575  K
(302 ° C, 576 ° F)
Boiling point  ? 610 K
(? 337 ° C, ? 639 ° F)
Heat of vaporization ca. 40 kJ·mol−1
Vapor pressure
P/Pa 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T/K 361 392 429 475 531 607
Atomic properties
Crystal structure no data
Oxidation states ±1, 3, 5, 7
Electronegativity 2.2 (Pauling scale)
Ionization energies 1st: (est.) 920 kJ/mol
Magnetic ordering no data
Thermal conductivity (300 K) 1.7 W·m−1·K−1
CAS registry number 7440-68-8
Selected isotopes
Main article: Isotopes of astatine
iso NA half-life DM DE ( MeV) DP
210At 100% 8.1 h ε, β+ 3.981 210Po
α 5.631 206Bi

Astatine ( IPA: /ˈastətiːn/) is a chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol At and atomic number 85. This radioactive element occurs naturally from uranium-235 and uranium-238 decay; it is the heaviest of the halogens.

Notable characteristics

This highly radioactive element has been confirmed by mass spectrometers to behave chemically much like other halogens, especially iodine (it would probably accumulate in the thyroid gland like iodine). Astatine is thought to be more metallic than iodine. Researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory have performed experiments that have identified and measured elementary reactions that involve astatine; however, chemical research into astatine is limited by its extreme rarity, which is a result of its extremely short half-life.

Astatine is the rarest naturally-occurring element, with the total amount in Earth's crust estimated to be less than 1 oz (28 g) at any given time; this amounts to less than one teaspoon of the element. The Guinness Book of Records has dubbed the element the rarest on Earth, stating: "Only around 0.9 oz (25 g) of the element astatine (At) occurring naturally"; Isaac Asimov wrote a 1955 essay on large numbers, scientific notation, and the size of the atom, in which he stated that the number of astatine atoms on Earth at any time was "only a trillion".


The existence of "eka-iodine" had been predicted by Mendeleev. Astatine (after Greek αστατος astatos, meaning "unsteady") was first synthesized in 1940 by Dale R. Corson, K. R. MacKenzie, and Emilio Segrè at the University of California, Berkeley by barraging bismuth with alpha particles. An earlier name for the element was alabamine (Ab).


Astatine is produced by bombarding bismuth with energetic alpha particles to obtain relatively long-lived 209At - 211At, which can then be distilled from the target by heating in the presence of air.


Multiple compounds of astatine have been synthesized in microscopic amounts and studied as intensively as possible before their inevitable radioactive disintegration. These compounds are primarily of theoretical interest; however, they are also being studied for potential use in nuclear medicine.


Astatine has 33 known isotopes, all of which are radioactive; the range of their mass numbers is from 191 to 223. There exist also 23 metastable excited states. The longest-lived isotope is 210At, which has a half-life of 8.1 hours; the shortest-lived known isotope is 213At, which has a half-life of 125 nanoseconds.

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