The condensed matter properties of the nominal terminating element of the halogen group with atomic number 85, astatine, are as yet unknown. In the intervening more than 70 years since its discovery significant advances have been made in substrate cooling and the other techniques necessary for the production of the element to the point where we might now enquire about the key properties astatine might have if it attained a condensed phase. This subject is addressed here using density functional theory and structural selection methods, with an accounting for relativistic physics that is essential. Condensed astatine is predicted to be quite different in fascinating ways from iodine, being already at 1 atm a metal, and monatomic at that, and possibly a superconductor (as is dense iodine).
Physical Review Letters
- Pub Date:
- September 2013
- Electron density of states and band structure of crystalline solids;
- Density functional theory local density approximation gradient and other corrections;
- Relativistic effects