Skip to Main Content

About Promethium

Promethium Bohr

All of promethium’s isotopes are radioactive and have short half-lives, so appreciable amounts are not found in natural sources. The existence of an unknown element with atomic number 61 was predicted in 1914 by Henry Mosley, but the metal was not successfully produced and fully characterized until 1945. This was accomplished by Jacob A. Marinsky, Lawrence E. Glendenin, and Charles D. Coryell at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by separating and analyzing fission products of uranium. The name was derived from the Titan in Greek mythology who stole fire from Mount Olympus to give to humans, Prometheus. Since the element can only be obtained from a lab, it has few applications. The only isotope of promethium used outside of research is promethium-147, which is produced and used in very small (milligram) quantities in atomic batteries and signal lights containing phosphors that emit light in response to absorption of radiation emitted by the isotope. Since this relatively stable isotope emits x-rays, it could theoretically be used for portable x-ray sources.

Promethium Properties

Promethium Bohr ModelPromethium is a Block F, Group 3, Period 6 element. The number of electrons in each of Promethium's shells is 2, 8, 18, 23, 8, 2 and its electron configuration is [Xe] 4f5 6s2. The promethium atom has a radius of 183.pm and it's Van der Waals radius is 236.pm. In its elemental form, CAS 7440-12-2, promethium has a metalic appearance. Promethium was discovered by Chien Shiung Wu, Emilio Segrè, and Hans Bethe in 1942. It was first isolated by J. A. Marinsky, Lawrence Glendenin and Charles D. Coryell in 1945. The element name comes from Greek mythology after the titan, Prometheus, who stole the fire of Zeus and gave it to mankind.

Promethium is radioactive. Promethium information, including technical data, properties, and other useful facts are specified below. Scientific facts such as the atomic structure, ionization energy, abundance on Earth, conductivity, and thermal properties are included.

Symbol: Pm
Atomic Number: 61
Atomic Weight: 145
Element Category: Lanthanide
Group, Period, Block: n/a, 6, f
Color: silvery-white/ metallic
Other Names: Prometio, Promécio
Melting Point: 1042°C, 1907.6°F, 1315.15 K
Boiling Point: 3000°C, 5432°F, 3273.15 K
Density: 7.26 g·cm3
Liquid Density @ Melting Point: N/A
Density @ 20°C: 7.220 g/cm3
Density of Solid: 7264 kg·m3
Specific Heat: N/A
Superconductivity Temperature: N/A
Triple Point: N/A
Critical Point: N/A
Heat of Fusion (kJ·mol-1): about 7.7
Heat of Vaporization (kJ·mol-1): 290
Heat of Atomization (kJ·mol-1): about 350
Thermal Conductivity: 17.9 W·m-1·K-1
Thermal Expansion: (r.t.) ( poly) est. 11 µm/(m·K)
Electrical Resistivity: (r.t.) est. 0.75 nΩ·m
Tensile Strength: N/A
Molar Heat Capacity: N/A
Young's Modulus: (form) est. 46 GPa
Shear Modulus: ( form) est. 18 GPa
Bulk Modulus: ( form) est. 33 GPa
Poisson Ratio: ( form) est. 0.28
Mohs Hardness: N/A
Vickers Hardness: N/A
Brinell Hardness: N/A
Speed of Sound: N/A
Pauling Electronegativity: N/A
Sanderson Electronegativity: N/A
Allred Rochow Electronegativity: 1.07
Mulliken-Jaffe Electronegativity: N/A
Allen Electronegativity: N/A
Pauling Electropositivity: N/A
Reflectivity (%): N/A
Refractive Index: N/A
Electrons: 61
Protons: 61
Neutrons: 84
Electron Configuration: [Xe] 4f5 6s2
Atomic Radius: 183 pm
Atomic Radius,
non-bonded (Å):
2.38
Covalent Radius: 199 pm
Covalent Radius (Å): 1.86
Van der Waals Radius: 236 pm
Oxidation States: 3 (mildly basic oxide)
Phase: Solid
Crystal Structure: hexagonal
Magnetic Ordering: paramagnetic
Electron Affinity (kJ·mol-1) Unknown
1st Ionization Energy: 538.39 kJ·mol-1
2nd Ionization Energy: 1051.70 kJ·mol-1
3rd Ionization Energy: 2151.64 kJ·mol-1
CAS Number: 7440-12-2
EC Number: N/A
MDL Number: N/A
Beilstein Number: N/A
SMILES Identifier: [Pm]
InChI Identifier: InChI=1S/Pm
InChI Key: VQMWBBYLQSCNPO-UHFFFAOYSA-N
PubChem CID: 23944
ChemSpider ID: 22386
Earth - Total: N/A
Mercury - Total: N/A
Venus - Total: N/A
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by weight: N/A
Earth - Seawater (Oceans), ppb by atoms: N/A
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by weight: N/A
Earth -  Crust (Crustal Rocks), ppb by atoms: N/A
Sun - Total, ppb by weight: N/A
Sun - Total, ppb by atoms: N/A
Stream, ppb by weight: N/A
Stream, ppb by atoms: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by weight: N/A
Meterorite (Carbonaceous), ppb by atoms: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by weight: N/A
Typical Human Body, ppb by atom: N/A
Universe, ppb by weight: N/A
Universe, ppb by atom: N/A
Discovered By: Chien Shiung Wu, Emilio Segrè, Hans Bethe
Discovery Date: 1942
First Isolation: Charles D. Coryell, Jacob A. Marinsky, Lawrence E. Glendenin, Harold G. Richter (1945)

Promethium Isotopes

Promethium (Pm) does not exist in nature (except in trace quantities from spontaneous fission and alpha decay of 151Eu). It has no stable isotopes.

Nuclide Isotopic Mass Half-Life Mode of Decay Nuclear Spin Magnetic Moment Binding Energy (MeV) Natural Abundance
(% by atom)
126Pm 125.95752(54)# 0.5# s Unknown N/A N/A 996.05 -
127Pm 126.95163(64)# 1# s Unknown 5/2+# N/A 1004.13 -
128Pm 127.94842(43)# 1.0(3) s β+ to 128Nd; p to 127Nd 6+# N/A 1021.53 -
129Pm 128.94316(43)# 3# s [>200 ns] β+ to 129Nd 5/2+# N/A 1029.61 -
130Pm 129.94045(32)# 2.6(2) s β+ to 130Nd; β+ + p to 129Pr (5+,6+,4+) N/A 1037.68 -
131Pm 130.93587(21)# 6.3(8) s β+ + p to 130Pr; β+ to 131Nd 5/2+# N/A 1055.08 -
132Pm 131.93375(21)# 6.2(6) s β+ to 132Nd; β+ + p to 131Pr (3+) N/A 1063.16 -
133Pm 132.92978(5) 15(3) s β+ to 133Nd (3/2+) N/A 1080.55 -
134Pm 133.92835(6) 22(1) s β+ to 134Nd (5+) N/A 1088.63 -
135Pm 134.92488(6) 49(3) s β+ to 135Nd (5/2+,3/2+) N/A 1096.71 -
136Pm 135.92357(8) 107(6) s β+ to 136Nd (5-) N/A 1104.79 -
137Pm 136.920479(14) 2# min β+ to 137Nd 5/2+# N/A 1112.87 -
138Pm 137.919548(30) 10(2) s β+ to 138Nd 1+# N/A 1130.26 -
139Pm 138.916804(14) 4.15(5) min β+ to 139Nd (5/2)+ N/A 1138.34 -
140Pm 139.91604(4) 9.2(2) s β+ to 140Nd 1+ N/A 1146.42 -
141Pm 140.913555(15) 20.90(5) min β+ to 141Nd 5/2+ N/A 1154.5 -
142Pm 141.912874(27) 40.5(5) s β+ to 142Nd 1+ N/A 1162.58 -
143Pm 142.910933(4) 265(7) d EC to 143Nd 5/2+ 3.8 1170.66 -
144Pm 143.912591(3) 363(14) d EC to 144Nd 5- 1.7 1178.73 -
145Pm 144.912749(3) 17.7(4) y EC to 145Nd; α to 141Pr 5/2+ N/A 1186.81 -
146Pm 145.914696(5) 5.53(5) y EC to 146Nd; β- to 146Sm 3- N/A 1194.89 -
147Pm 146.9151385(26) 2.6234(2) y β- to 147Sm 7/2+ 2.6 1202.97 -
148Pm 147.917475(7) 5.368(2) d β- to 148Sm 1- 2 1211.05 -
149Pm 148.918334(4) 53.08(5) h β- to 149Sm 7/2+ 3.3 1219.13 -
150Pm 149.920984(22) 2.68(2) h β- to 150Sm (1-) N/A 1217.89 -
151Pm 150.921207(6) 28.40(4) h β- to 151Sm 5/2+ 1.8 1225.97 -
152Pm 151.923497(28) 4.12(8) min β- to 152Sm 1+ N/A 1234.05 -
153Pm 152.924117(12) 5.25(2) min β- to 153Sm 5/2- N/A 1242.13 -
154Pm 153.92646(5) 1.73(10) min β- to 154Sm (0,1) N/A 1250.21 -
155Pm 154.92810(3) 41.5(2) s β- to 155Sm (5/2-) N/A 1258.28 -
156Pm 155.93106(4) 26.70(10) s β- to 156Sm 4- N/A 1257.05 -
157Pm 156.93304(12) 10.56(10) s β- to 157Sm (5/2-) N/A 1265.13 -
158Pm 157.93656(14) 4.8(5) s β- to 158Sm N/A N/A 1273.2 -
159Pm 158.93897(21)# 1.47(15) s β- to 159Sm 5/2-# N/A 1281.28 -
160Pm 159.94299(32)# 2# s β- to 160Sm N/A N/A 1280.05 -
161Pm 160.94586(54)# 700# ms β- to 161Sm 5/2-# N/A 1288.12 -
162Pm 161.95029(75)# 500# ms β- to 162Sm N/A N/A 1286.89 -
163Pm 162.95368(86)# 200# ms β- to 163Sm 5/2-# N/A 1294.96 -
Promethium Elemental Symbol

Recent Research & Development for Promethium

  • A novel ion selective sensor for promethium determination. Gupta VK, Jain R, Hamdan AJ, Agarwal S, Bharti AK. Anal Chim Acta. 2010 Nov 29
  • [Effect of inactive vehicles on the behavior of inhaled promethium in the lungs]. Genzike F, Kheltser F, Nitshke KhV. Med Radiol (Mosk). 1976 Apr
  • The effect of DTPA on excretion of promethium in humans. BNWL-1051. Palmer HE, Crook GH, Nelson IC. BNWL Rep. 1969 Jun:225-6.
  • Removal of firmly bound promethium from the rat. BNWL-1050. Smith VH. BNWL Rep. 1970 Jan:5.3+.
  • [Comparative assessment of the toxic action of cerium-144 and promethium-147 in rats according to biochemical indices]. Fedorova AV, Zapol'skaia NA. Radiobiologiia. 1977 Mar-Apr
  • Effect of promethium concentration on deposition and removal in the rat. BNWL-1050. Smith VH. BNWL Rep. 1970 Jan:5.5+.
  • [Effectiveness of pentacine on intratracheal administration of promethium-147]. Zhanadilov Sh. Gig Tr Prof Zabol. 1973 Jan
  • The uptake, distribution and excretion of promethium in humans and the effect of DTPA on these parameters. Palmer HE, Nelson IC, Crook GH. Health Phys. 1970 Jan
  • Promethium-147 capacitor. Kavetskiy A, Yakubova G, Lin Q, Chan D, Yousaf SM, Bower K, Robertson JD, Garnov A, Meier D. Appl Radiat Isot. 2009 Jun
  • [Comparative assessment of exposure of the skin of sexually immature swine to the beta-rays of thallium-204 and promethium-147]. Zav'ialov AP, A'ref'eva ZS, Nazarov VA, Khriashcheva LA. Radiobiologiia. 1977 Mar-Apr
  • Isolation of strontium-90, yttrium-90, promethium-147, and cerium-144 from wet ashed urine by calcium oxalate coprecipitation and sequential solvent extraction. Kramer GH, Davies JM. Anal Chem. 1982 Jul
  • [Characteristics of barium 140 and promethium 147 behavior in the organism after intratracheal administration]. Dobriakova GV. Radiobiologiia. 1969 Jan-Feb
  • The response of murine intestinal crypts to short-range promethium-147 beta irradiation: deductions concerning clonogenic cell numbers and positions. Hendry JH, Potten CS, Ghafoor A, Moore JV, Roberts SA, Williams PC. Radiat Res. 1989 May
  • The effect of mass on promethium retention and removal from the rat. Smith VH. Health Phys. 1972 Jul
  • Promethium removal studies in miniature swine. BNWL-1050. Smith VH, Amster RL. BNWL Rep. 1970 Jan:5.8+.
  • Comparative biokinetics of trivalent radionuclides with similar ionic dimensions: promethium-147, curium-242 and americium-241. Priest ND. Radiat Res. 2007 Sep
  • The uptake of cerium-144, promethium-147, and plutonium-238 by oat plants from soils. Cummings SL, Bankert L. Radiol Health Data Rep. 1971 Feb
  • The utilization of promethium-147 as an ionization source in electron-capture detectors. Lubkowitz JA, Parker WC. J Chromatogr. 1971 Oct 28
  • Excretion and body distribution of promethium 147: a study in rats after intramuscular injection. Herman MW, Clark AJ. Arch Environ Health. 1973 May
  • Spontaneous fission of heavy transuranium elements in the surface layers of the peculiar A star HR 465 explains promethium abundance. Kuchowicz B. Nature. 1971 Aug 20