Crystal structure of polonium and its decay products Page: 4 of 6
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X-ray diffraction patterns have been obtained from a sample of
elemental polonium over a period of more than four half-lives, This time
study was made for the purpose of determining the effect of decay upon the
lattice constants and crystal structure of the element,
All of the X-ray patterns used in this study of the decay of
polonium were obtained from a single sample. This sample was prepared by
vaporizing the element in an evacuated tube and condensing the vapor in
a thin walled Pyrex capillary, The freshly prepared sample was first
submitted for X-ray analysis on January 17, 1947.1 Patterns were obtained
at intervals of a few days for the first month. After the first month
patterns have been obtained at intervals of one to two months until the
present time. The elapsed time is over four half-lives of the element,
X-ray patterns of the original sample and several later samples
have been analyzed to determine the crystal structure of pure pol.onim.
The crystal structure and lattice constants of these freshly prepaid ed
samples of both the high temperature, ? Po, and low temperature, 4C Po, 2
forms were in good agreement with those reported by Maxwell and Beamer.
The A'Po structure is rhombohedral with Ao = 3.36 a,, ~ 98c 131 The
C Po structure is unquestionably simple cubic with ao = 30348 0002 R.
During the early stage of the decay of polonium into lead the
simple cubic, el Po, crystal structure was retained with only a slight
increase in the lattice constant due to the substitution of lead atoms
for polonium. On a pattern obtained after twenty-six days, at which time
12 per cent of the atoms had decayed, an additional set of lines was
These additional lines increased in intensity and the lines due
to the original dCPo structure decreased through the series of patterns
obtained during the first four months. This second pattern was found to
be due to a lead polonide compound with a sodium chloride type crystal
structure. The crystal structure of this compound is of the same type
as PbS, PbSe, and PbTe. The lattice constant of 6.60 is also about the
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Haring, M.M. Crystal structure of polonium and its decay products, report, March 1, 1948; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc625337/m1/4/: accessed December 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.