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What do you get when you mix lithium with astatine? Is it used commonly? What for? Thank you.
Answer 1:

Astatine (Greek for "unstable") is a very rare radioactive element that occurs during the radioactive decay of uranium. As it's name suggests, astatine is not a very stable atom, quickly radioactively decaying into other, smaller atoms. Astatine was only discovered in 1940, and only about 30 grams (about a teaspoon worth) of it are thought to exist on the entire earth at any one time; and the half-life of the most stable form of Astatine is about 8 hours.

However, scientists have performed experiments on the very tiny amounts of astatine they can produce by bombarding bismuth with high-energy alpha particles. These short-lived observations tell us that Astatine reacts similarly to Iodine, another Halogen.

Lithium will form a compound with Iodine, Lithium iodide, so it is likely that lithium and astatine would similarly combine-- but such a molecule would last only minutes or hours before breaking apart, and current methods could produce only micrograms of the molecule at a time. If the ability to make astatine became more routine, it might be useful in applications like radiation therapy for cancer -iodine localizes to certain parts of the body, and astatine might as well. If those areas have cancer, the radioactivity from the astatine could damage the cancer present.



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