Nobelium is one of these heavy and short-lived elements at the bottom of the periodic table. It has a nuclear charge Z = 102 and even its most stable isotope has a half-life of less than a minute. Elements with Z > 100 are called transfermium elements, and so far, no laser spectroscopy has ever been performed on these elements.
Last week, Mustapha Laatiaoui and his team reported on the first laser spectroscopy of two nobelium isotopes. They used the GSI facility to produce No-252 and No-254, deposited a few of these atoms on a filament, then quickly heated the filament to release the atoms into the gas phase, and performed resonance ionization via an intermediate step; the produced ions were then detected. This very efficient spectroscopy and detection scheme allowed the researches to perform the measurements with the veeery small production rate of these atoms.
Mustapha and his team at GSI are associate partners of the nuClock consortium. Congratulations to this beautiful result!
link to the Nature publication
link to the GSI press release