AUTHORCunningham, B. B. / Werner, L. B.
TITLEThe First Isolation Of Plutonium
PERIODICAL TITLEJournal of the American Chemical Society
DATE PUBLISHED1949
VOLUME NUMBER71
ISSUE NUMBER5
PAGE NUMBERS1521-1528
ISSN0002-7863


This seminal article describes the first isolation of microgram quantities of chemically pure plutonium at the University of Chicago in 1942. The microgram and microliter quantities of chemicals needed for producing plutonium for nuclear weapons required new laboratory apparatus and techniques. The apparatus included a modified Salvioni balance. Methods are described for the preparation and purification of plutonium compounds. The specific alpha activity and half life of Pu-239 are reported, as well as the stable oxidation number for plutonium, which was determined to be +4. Finally, the solubilities and colors of a number of plutonium compounds are reported. The publication of the paper was delayed because of the classified nature of its contents.


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