PhD project: Superheavy Solid State Physics

Project description

The periodic table of the elements is extended continuously, with new superheavy elements being created in collision experiments. These nucleosynthetic efforts are getting close to the "island of stability" of very stable nuclei, but little is known about those elements’ chemical or physical properties. Intuitive properties by which we order the periodic table often break down in periods 6 and 7, as relativistic effects come into play and change chemical and physical trends. In this project, we will study systematically the solid state structures of the superheavy elements and their compounds, analyzing computationally their ground state (structures, cohesive energies, band gaps) and excited state properties (optical spectra, electronic conductivities). All calculations will be related to lighter analogues of the respective groups, giving a better understanding of heavy elements' solid state physics and chemistry and of the man-made extension of the periodic table.

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