|Group||Actinides||Melting point||900°C, 1652°F, 1173 K|
|Block||f||Density (g cm−3)||15.1|
|Atomic number||98||Relative atomic mass|||
|State at 20°C||Solid||Key isotopes||249Cf, 252Cf|
|Electron configuration||[Rn]5f10 7s2||CAS number||7440-71-3|
|ChemSpider ID||22433||ChemSpider is a free chemical structure database.|
- Californium (Cf) is a radio metallic chemical element with atomic number 98 and is a member of actinide group of periodic table, discovered by G.T Seaborg in the year 1950.
- It is named after the University and the state of California.
- Californium is a very good source of neutrons, and this property makes it useful for the Nuclear reactor as a neutron startup source.
- It is also useful in detecting trace elements in samples by using neutron activation analysis.
- Some detections like fuel rods, neutron radiography, and portable metal detectors will make use of californium neutron penetration property.
- It is employed to treat many brain and cervical cancers.
- The element is available in two forms under normal pressure and a third form is at high pressure.
- It tarnishes gradually when exposed to air and readily attacked by steam, acids. Californium (III) is the only stable ion in aqueous solutions and cannot be oxidised or reduced.
- There are many compounds of it that exhibits different kinds of properties, for example Californium – 252 is a very strong emitter of neutrons.
- It is the heaviest actinide that shows covalent properties similar to californium borate.
- The element is not available naturally on Earth. It can be found in the vicinity of nuclear facilities and research laboratories as it is used in medical diagnosis and mineral prospecting.
- Biological use of the element is not yet found. As few compounds of it are extremely radioactive, it is considered to be hazardous to health.
- The greatest threat of radioactivity to life is that it damages genetic makeup, genetic pool of living beings which is cumulative over generations.