Condensed astatine: monatomic and metallic

Andreas Hermann, Roald Hoffmann, N W Ashcroft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116404
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2013


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