Polonium: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Polonium: Description, Properties, Uses & Facts

Unveiling the Mysteries of Polonium: A Closer Look at the Enigmatic Element


Nestled within the depths of the periodic table, polonium is a fascinating and enigmatic chemical element that has captured the curiosity of scientists and enthusiasts alike. With its unique properties and intriguing history, polonium stands as a testament to the wonders of the atomic world. In this blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of polonium, exploring its chemical makeup, properties, compounds, reactions, occurrence, and applications.

Basic Information:

Symbol: Po

Latin Name: Polonium

Atomic Number: 84

Atomic Mass: 209 u

Electron configuration short: [Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p4

Electron configuration

in long form: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 6s2 6p4

Valence Electron: 6

Valency: 2, 4, 6

Position in the Periodic Table:

Polonium resides in Group 16 (Chalcogens) and Period 6 of the periodic table, sharing its neighborhood with elements like oxygen, sulfur, selenium, and tellurium.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Polonium displays several distinctive characteristics, including its radioactivity. It primarily exists in two allotropes – α-polonium and β-polonium. The former has a cubic crystal structure, while the latter has a rhombohedral structure. As a metal, polonium is a poor conductor of electricity and possesses a melting point of 254 degrees Celsius.

Polonium Compounds:

While polonium is known to form compounds with elements such as oxygen, sulfur, and halogens, it is most notably associated with the creation of polonium halides, such as polonium hexafluoride (PoF₆) and polonium tetrafluoride (PoF₄).

Chemical Reactions:

Polonium exhibits a range of chemical reactions, especially with halogens. For example, it reacts vigorously with fluorine to form polonium hexafluoride, showcasing its ability to engage in halogenation reactions.

Occurrence and Production:

Polonium is a rare and naturally occurring element, primarily found in trace amounts within uranium ores. Its production involves the extraction from uranium and subsequent purification processes. The isotope polonium-210 is commonly used in various applications due to its relatively long half-life.

Uses and Facts:

1. Radioactive Heat Source: Polonium has been used as a heat source in space missions, providing a long-lasting and efficient energy supply due to its radioactive decay.

2. Anti-Static Devices: Polonium-210 has found applications in anti-static devices, where it is used to eliminate static charges in industries like printing and textiles.

3. Poisoning Incident: Polonium gained international attention in 2006 when former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko was fatally poisoned with polonium-210 in London.


As we uncover the mysteries of polonium, we find a captivating element with unique properties and a rich history. From its role in space exploration to its applications in industry, polonium continues to intrigue scientists and spark fascination among those exploring the world of chemistry. While its radioactive nature demands caution, the study of polonium unlocks valuable insights into the complexities of the atomic realm, showcasing the delicate balance between scientific curiosity and responsible exploration.

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