The 14th International Conference on

Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences

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Period





 

Period

A period in the periodic table is a row of chemical elements. All elements in a row have the same number of electron shells. Each next element in a period has one more proton and is less metallic than its predecessor. Arranged this way, groups of elements in the same column have similar chemical and physical properties, reflecting the periodic law. For example, the halogens lie in the second-last column (group 17) and share similar properties, such as high reactivity and the tendency to gain one electron to arrive at a noble-gas electronic configuration As of 2016, a total of 118 elements have been discovered and confirmed.

Modern quantum mechanics explains these periodic trends in properties in terms of electron shells. As atomic number increases, shells fill with electrons in approximately the order shown at right. The filling of each shell corresponds to a row in the table.

In the s-block and p-block of the periodic table, elements within the same period generally do not exhibit trends and similarities in properties (vertical trends down groups are more significant). However, in the d-block, trends across periods become significant, and in the f-block elements show a high degree of similarity across periods.

The first period contains the least elements than any other, with only two, hydrogen and helium. They therefore do not follow the octet rule. Chemically, helium behaves like a noble gas, and thus is taken to be part of the group 18 elements. However, in terms of its nuclear structure it belongs to the s block, and is therefore sometimes classified as a group 2 element, or simultaneously both 2 and 18. Hydrogen readily loses and gains an electron, and so behaves chemically as both a group 1 and a group 17 element.

Hydrogen (H) is the most abundant of the chemical elements, constituting roughly 75% of the universe's elemental mass. Ionized hydrogen is just a proton. Stars in the main sequence are mainly composed of hydrogen in its plasma state. Elemental hydrogen is relatively rare on Earth, and is industrially produced from hydrocarbons such as methane. Hydrogen can form compounds with most elements and is present in water and most organic compounds.

Helium (He) exists only as a gas except in extreme conditions. It is the second-lightest element and is the second-most abundant in the universe. Most helium was formed during the Big Bang, but new helium is created through nuclear fusion of hydrogen in stars. On Earth, helium is relatively rare, only occurring as a byproduct of the natural decay of some radioactive elements. Such 'radiogenic' helium is trapped within natural gas in concentrations of up to seven percent by volume.

Period 4 includes the biologically essential elements potassium and calcium, and is the first period in the d-block with the lighter transition metals. These include iron, the heaviest element forged in main-sequence stars and a principal component of the Earth, as well as other important metals such as cobalt, nickel, and copper. Almost all have biological roles.

All elements of period 7 are radioactive. This period contains the heaviest element which occurs naturally on Earth, plutonium. All of the subsequent elements in the period have been synthesized artificially. Whilst five of these (from americium to einsteinium) are now available in macroscopic quantities, most are extremely rare, having only been prepared in microgram amounts or less. Some of the later elements have only ever been identified in laboratories in quantities of a few atoms at a time.

Although the rarity of many of these elements means that experimental results are not very extensive, periodic and group trends in behaviour appear to be less well defined for period 7 than for other periods. Whilst francium and radium do show typical properties of groups 1 and 2, respectively, the actinides display a much greater variety of behaviour and oxidation states than the lanthanides. These peculiarities of period 7 may be due to a variety of factors, including a large degree of spin-orbit coupling and relativistic effects, ultimately caused by the very high positive electrical charge from their massive atomic nuclei.







 

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