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Химики предлагают изменить таблицу Менделеева Версия для печати Отправить на e-mail

Химики предлагают изменить таблицу Менделеева Сразу двое ученых опубликовали работы, посвященные новым интерпретациям привычной всем таблицы Менделеева. Один из исследователей, Марис Киблер, предлагает использовать теоретико-групповой подход, аналогичный тому, который применяется в квантовой механике.

Статья ученого еще нигде не опубликована, однако ее препринт доступен на сайте arXiv.org

В рамках своего исследования Киблер изучал группу SO(4,2)xSU(2). Первый множитель называется специальной псевдоортогональной группой для пространства 4+2, а второй — специальной унитарной группой плоскости. Эти объекты естественным образом возникают при описании явлений квантовой механики.

Каждый элемент Киблер предлагает кодировать набором его электронов. При этом каждый электрон предлагается для удобства считать размещенным на энергетических уровнях атома водорода. Состояние каждого такого электрона однозначно задается четырьмя так называемыми квантовыми числами. Такая «водородно-электронная» классификация заметно отличается от привычной всем классификации по свойствам и атомным номерам обычной таблицы Менделеева.

По словам ученого, новых подход может оказаться полезным для анализа свойств будущих сверхтяжелых элементов. Теоретически, данный подход может пригодиться при изучении так называемого «острова стабильности» — группы устойчивых сверхтяжелых элементов.

Другой исследователь, Мод Абубар из Индии, предложил на его взгляд более правильную запись периодической таблицы. Он предлагает записывать элементы по концентрическим окружностям, поместив отдельно ближе к центру гелий и водород. По словам Абубара, подобная запись отражает относительный размер атомных ядер, поскольку размеры ячеек к краю таблицы увеличиваются. При этом, однако, читать круглую таблицу гораздо менее удобно, чем прямоугольную.

Периодическая таблица химических элементов была создана Менделеевым в 1869 году. Сейчас известно несколько сот вариантов изображения данной таблицы. В современном варианте системы предполагается сведение элементов в двумерную таблицу, в которой положение элемента в столбце определяет его физико-химические свойства. При этом элементы занумерованы атомными числами, то есть зарядами ядер.  Джерелом є сайт proUA.com.

 

 

Ниже приводим полный текст работы исследователя Марис Киблера Maurice R. Kibler на языке оригинала.

 

From the Mendeleev periodic table to particle physics and back to the periodic table
Authors: M.R. Kibler (IPNL)
Abstract: We briefly describe in this paper the passage from Mendeleev's chemistry (1869) to atomic physics (in the 1900's), nuclear physics (in the 1932's) and particle physics (from 1953 to 2006). We show how the consideration of symmetries, largely used in physics since the end of the 1920's, gave rise to a new format of the periodic table in the 1970's. More specifically, this paper is concerned with the application of the group SO(4,2)xSU(2) to the periodic table of chemical elements. It is shown how the Madelung rule of the atomic shell model can be used for setting up a periodic table that can be further rationalized via the group SO(4,2)xSU(2) and some of its subgroups. Qualitative results are obtained from this nonstandard table.
Comments: 15 pages; accepted for publication in Foundations of Chemistry (special issue to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the death of Mendeleev who died in 1907); version 2: 16 pages; some sentences added; acknowledgment and references added; misprints corrected
Subjects: Quantum Physics (quant-ph); High Energy Physics - Theory (hep-th)
Journal reference: Foundations of Chemistry 9 (2007) 221-234
DOI: 10.1007/s10698-007-9039-9
Cite as:

arXiv:quant-ph/0611287v2

 

From the Mendeleev periodic table to particle physics
and back to the periodic table
Maurice R. Kibler

Universit.e de Lyon, Institut de Physique Nucl.eaire, universit.e Lyon 1 and CNRS/IN2P3 43 Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, F–69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, FranceWe briefly describe in this paper the passage from Mendeleev’s chemistry (1869) to atomic physics (in the 1900’s), nuclear physics (in 1932) and particle physics (from 1953 to 2006). We show how the consideration of symmetries, largely used in physics since the end of the 1920’s, gave rise to a new format of the periodic table in the 1970’s. More specifically, this paper is concerned with the application of the group SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) to the periodic table of chemical elements. It is shown how the Madelung rule of the atomic shell model can be used to set up a periodic table that can be further rationalized via the group SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) and some of its subgroups. Qualitative results are obtained from
this nonstandard table.  PACS: 03.65.Fd, 31.15.Hz

Key words: atomic physics, subatomic physics, group theory, flavor group, periodic table
of chemical elements

1 Introduction

Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) is certainly the father of modern
chemistry. Nevertheless, the first important progress in the classification of chemical
elements is due to Dimitri Ivanovitch Mendeleev (1834-1907). Indeed, the
classification of elements did not start with Mendeleev. The impact for chemistry
of numerous precursors of Mendeleev is well–known (van Spronsen, 1969; Rouvray
and King, 2004; Scerri, 2007). For example we can mention, among others, Johann
W. D.obereiner and his triads of elements (1829), Max von Pettenkofer and
his groupings of elements (1850), Alexandre E. Beguyer de Chancourtois and his
spiral or telluric periodic table (1862), John A.R Newlands and his law of octaves
(1864), William Odling and his periodic table (1864), and Julius Lothar Meyer and
his curve of atomic volumes (1868). In spite of the interest of the works of his predecessors,
Mendeleev is recognized as the originator of the classification of elements
for the following reasons. As a matter of fact, in 1869 Mendeleev was successful in
four directions: (i) he gave a classification of elements according to growing atomic
weights; (ii) he made two inversions (Te/I and Ni/Co) violating the ordering via
growing atomic weights and thus compatible with the now accepted ordering via
growing atomic numbers; (iii) he predicted the existence of new elements (via the
eka-process); and (iv) he described in a qualitative and quantitative way the main
chemical and physical properties of the predicted elements. It is true that other
scientists tried to develop ideas along the lines (i)-(iv). However, Mendeleev was
the first to make observable predictions for new elements. A question naturally
arises: What happened after the establishment of the Mendeleev periodic table?
There are two answers.

First, let us mention the development and the extension of the table with the
discovery of new elements. For instance, the element called eka-silicon predicted
by Mendeleev was discovered in 1886. Such an element, now called germanium,
belongs to the same column as silicon (it is located below silicon and above tin
in the periodic table with horizontal lines). This discovery illustrates the ‘eka’-
process or ‘something is missing’-process: In order to respect some regularity and
periodicity arguments, Mendeleev left an empty box at the right of silicon (in his
periodic table with vertical lines) and predicted a new element with the correct
mass and density.

The discovery of new elements continued during the end of the 19th century,
during the whole 20th century and is still the subject of experimental and theoretical
investigations. Approximately, 70 elements were known in 1870, 86 in 1940 and 102
in 1958. In the present days, we have 116 elements (the last ones are less and less
stable). Some of the recently observed elements do not have a name (the last named
is called roentgenium). There is no major reason, except for experimental reasons,
to have an end for the periodic table. The research for heavy elements (indeed,
superheavy nuclei) is far from being finished.

Second, let us mention a spectacular advance in the understanding of the complexity
of matter. This gave rise to the discovery of sub-structures with the advent
of classification tables for the constituents of the chemical elements themselves.
More precisely, the discovery of atomic structure led to atomic physics at the beginning
of the 20th century, then to the birth of nuclear physics in 1932 and, finally,
to particle physics in the 1950’s. In the present days, subatomic physics deals with
the elementary constituents of matter and with the forces or interactions between
these constituents.

2 From chemistry to atomic, nuclear and particle physics
According to Mendeleev, a chemical element had no internal structure. The
chemical elements are made of atoms without constituents. The discovery of the
electron by J.J. Thomson in 1897 and that of the atomic nucleus by E. Rutherford
in 1911 led to the idea of a planetary model for the atom where the electrons orbit
around the nucleus. The simplest nucleus, namely, the proton, was observed by
Rutherford in 1919. The simplest atom, the hydrogen atom, is made of a nucleus
consisting of a single proton considered as fixed and of an electron moving around
the proton. Atomic spectroscopy, seen via the prism of the old theory of quanta
(the starting point for quantum mechanics), was born in 1913 when N. Bohr introduced
his semi-classical treatment of the hydrogen atom. In 1922, Bohr proposed a
building-up principle for the atom based on the planetary Bohr-Sommerfeld model
with elliptic orbits and on the filling of each orbit with a maximum of two electrons.
This led him to adopt a pyramidal form for the periodic table, that had been
already proposed by others like Bayley, and to predict that hafnium is a transition
metal as opposed to a rare earth (Scerri, 1994).
A further step towards complexity occurred with the discovery of the neutron
by J. Chadwick in 1932. A nucleus is made of protons and neutrons, collectively
denoted as nucleons. A proton has a positive electric charge, which is the opposite
of the electronic charge of the electron, and the neutron has no electric charge. The
discovery of a substructure for the nucleus opened the door of nuclear physics. The
first model for the description of the strong interactions between nucleons inside
the nucleus, the SU(2) model of W. Heisenberg, goes back to 1932. It was soon
completed by the prediction by I. Yukawa of the meson π in 1933. It can be said
that the first version of the strong interaction theory (the ancestor of quantum
chromodynamics developed in the 1970’s) was born with the works of Heisenberg
and Yukawa. In a parallel way, E. Fermi developed in 1933 a theory for the weak
interactions inside the nucleus (the ancestor of the electroweak model developed in
the 1960’s).
In 1932, the situation for emerging particle physics was very simple and symmetrical.
At this time, we had four particles: two hadrons (proton and neutron)
and two leptons (electron and neutrino), as well as their antiparticles resulting from
the P.A.M. Dirac relativistic quantum mechanics introduced in 1928. Remember
that the neutrino (in fact the antineutrino of the electron) was postulated by W.
Pauli in 1931 in order to ensure the conservation of energy. In some sense, the introduction
of the neutrino was made along lines that parallel the eka-process used
by Mendeleev. Furthermore, with the discovery of a new lepton, the muon in 1937,
of three new hadrons, the pions in 1947-50, and of a cascade of strange hadronic
particles (mesons and baryons) in cosmic rays in the 1950’s, particle physics was in
the 1950’s in a situation similar to the one experienced by chemistry in the 1860’s.
The need for a classification was in order. In this direction, S. Sakata tried without
success to introduce in 1956 three elementary particles (proton, neutron, lambda
particle) from which it would be possible to generate all hadrons. Indeed, this trial
based on the group SU(3) was an extension of the model developed by E. Fermi
and C.N. Yang in 1949, based on the group SU(2), with two basic hadrons (proton,
neutron).
A decisive step was made with the introduction of the so-called eightfold way by
M. Gell-Mann and Y. Ne’eman in 1961. The eightfold way is a model for the classification
of hadrons within multiplets (singlets, octets and decuplets) corresponding
to some irreducible representation classes (IRCs) of the group SU(3). More precisely,
the eight (0)− pseudo-scalar mesons and the eight (1)− vector mesons were
classified in two nonets (nonet = ‘octet plus singlet’) while the eight ( 1
2 )+ baryons
were classified in an octet. At this time, we knew nine ( 3
2 )+ baryons (the four, the three _∗ and the two _∗). It was not possible to accommodate these nine
particles into an ‘octet plus singlet’. The closer framework or ‘perodic table’ for
accomodating the nine hadrons was a decuplet with ten boxes. Along the lines of
an eka-process, in 1962 Gell-Mann was very well inspired to fill the empty box with
a new particle, the particle . He was also able to predict the main characteristics
of this postulated particle (spin, parity, isospin, charge, mass, etc.). This particle
was observed two years later, in 1964. The interest of group theory for classifying
purposes was thus clearly established. The relevance and usefulness of SU(3) was
confirmed with the introduction of new particles in 1964: the ‘quarks’of M. Gell-

Mann and the ‘aces’of G. Zweig. Gell-Mann and Zweig postulated the existence
of three elementary particles and their anti-particles, now called quarks and antiquarks,
classified into a triplet and an anti-triplet of SU(3) from which it is possible
to generate all hadrons.
As soon as 1970, a fourth quark was postulated by S.L. Glashow, J. Iliopoulos
and L. Maiani to explain the non-observation of certain a priori allowed decays.
This quark was indirectly observed in 1974 through the production of a charmed
meson so that the matter world was again very symmetrical at that time with four
quarks (u, d, c, s) and four leptons (e, μ, νe, νμ). The interest, for the classification
of hadrons, of symmetry groups like SU(n), now called flavor groups, was then
fully confirmed. Besides flavor groups, other groups, called gauge groups, appeared
during the 1960’s and 1970’s to describe interactions between particles. Let us
mention the group SU(2)⊗U(1) for the weak and electromagnetic interactions, the
group SU(3) for the strong interactions and the groups SU(5), SO(10) and E6 for
a grand unified description of electroweak and strong interactions. In addition, the
supersymmetric Poincar.e group was introduced for unifying external (space-time)
symmetries and internal (flavor and gauge) symmetries. As a result of investigations
based on symmetries and supersymmetries, we now have in 2006 the standard model
and its supersymmetric extensions for describing particles and their interactions
(gravitation excluded). This model is based on twelve matter fields, twelve gauge
fields mediating interactions between matter fields and one feeding particle (the
Higgs boson) which gives mass to massive particles. Indeed, the matter particles
(six quarks and six leptons) can be accomotaded in a periodic table with three
generations or periods.
The advances in group–theoretical methods in direction of particle physics as
well as the introduction of invariance groups and noninvariance groups for describing
dynamical systems were a source of inspiration for the use of groups in connection
with the periodic table. The rest of this paper is devoted to the building of a
periodic table based on the direct product group SO(4,2)⊗SU(2).


3 Introducing the group SO(4,2)
Most of the modern presentations of the periodic table of chemical elements
are based on a quantum–mechanical treatment of the atom. In this respect, the
simplest atom, namely the hydrogen atom, often constitutes a starting point for
studying many–electron atoms. Naively, we may expect to construct an atom with
atomic number Z by distributing Z electrons on the one–electron energy levels of
a hydrogen–like atom. This building-up principle can be rationalized and refined
from a group–theoretical point of view. As a matter of fact, we know that the
dynamical noninvariance group of a hydrogen–like atom is the special real pseudoorthogonal
group in 4+2 dimensions SO(4,2) or SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) if we introduce the
group SU(2) that labels the spin (Malkin and Man’ko, 1965; Barut and Kleinert,
1967). This result can be derived in several ways. We briefly review two of them
(one is well–known, the other is little known).

The first way corresponds to a symmetry ascent process starting from the geometrical
symmetry group SO(3) of a hydrogen–like atom. Then, we go from SO(3)
to the dynamical invariance group SO(4) for the discrete spectrum or SO(3,1) for
the continuous spectrum. The relevant quantum numbers for the discrete spectrum
are n, ℓ and mℓ (with n = 1, 2, 3, • • •; for fixed n: ℓ = 0, 1, • • • , n−1; for fixed ℓ: mℓ =
−ℓ,−ℓ+1, • • • , ℓ). The corresponding state vectors  nℓmℓ can be organized to span
multiplets of SO(3) and SO(4). The set { nℓmℓ : n and ℓ fixed ; mℓ ranging} generates
an IRC of SO(3), noted (ℓ), while the set { nℓmℓ : n fixed ; ℓ and mℓ ranging}
generates an IRC of SO(4). The direct sum spanned by all the possible state vectors  
 corresponds to an IRC of the de Sitter group SO(4,1). The IRC h is also an IRC of SO(4,2). This IRC thus
remains irreducible when restricting SO(4,2) to SO(4,1) but splits into two IRC’s
when restricting SO(4,2) to SO(3,2). The groups SO(4,2), SO(4,1) and SO(3,2) are
dynamical noninvariance groups in the sense that not all their generators commute
with the Hamiltonian of the hydrogen–like atom.
The second way to derive SO(4,2) corresponds to a symmetry descent process
starting from the dynamical noninvariance group Sp(8,R), the real symplectic group
in 8 dimensions, for a four–dimensional isotropic harmonic oscillator. We know that
there is a connection between the hydrogen-like atom in R3 and a four–dimensional
oscillator in R4 (Kibler and N.egadi, 1984). Such a connection can be established
via Lie–like methods (local or infinitesimal approach) or algebraic methods based
on the so-called Kustaanheimo–Stiefel transformation (global or partial differential
equation approach). Both approaches give rise to a constraint and the introduction
of this constraint into the Lie algebra of Sp(8,R) produces a Lie algebra under
constraints that turns out to be isomorphic with the Lie algebra of SO(4,2). From
a mathematical point of view, the latter Lie algebra is given by
centsp(8,R)so(2)/so(2) = su(2, 2) ∼ so(4, 2)
in terms of Lie algebras.
Once we accept that the hydrogen–like atom may serve as a guide for studying
the periodic table, the group SO(4,2) and some of its subgroups play an important
role in the construction of this table. This was first realized by Rumer and
Fet (Rumer and Fet, 1971) and, independently, by Barut (Barut, 1972). Later,
Byakov, Kulakov, Rumer and Fet (Konopel’chenko and Rumer, 1979) further developed
this group–theoretical approach of the periodic chart of chemical elements
by introducing the direct product SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) and Kibler (Kibler, 2004, 2006)
fully described the SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) table in connection with the so-called Madelung
rule of atomic spectroscopy.

4 The periodic table `a la Madelung
Before introducing the table based on SO(4,2)⊗SU(2), we describe the construction
of a periodic table based on the Madelung rule which arises from the
atomic shell model. This approach to the periodic table uses the quantum numbers
occurring in the quantum–mechanical treatment of the hydrogen atom as well as
of a many–electron atom.
Several authors have claimed that the Madelung rule has not been deduced from
the first principles of Quantum Mechanics (L.owdin, 1969; Scerri, 2006). This is certainly
true if we limit the study of quantum dynamical systems to the paradigmatic
quantum systems (and their trivial extensions), namely, the Coulomb and harmonic
oscillator systems. However, as shown by Demkov and Ostrosvky (Ostrovsky, 2001)
in their remarkable work, it is feasible to deduce the Madelung rule from an effective
one–electron potential of a type similar to the one used in the Thomas-Fermi theory
of the atom. In some sense, their approach exhibits a phenomenological character.
However, the result really follows from ab initio calculations in the framework of
nonrelativistic Quantum Mechanics and, from the mathematical point of view, it
corresponds to the difficult inverse problem of finding the potential from the spectrum.
The approach followed in the present work for presenting (not deriving)
the Madelung rule is entirely different. Indeed, we examine the SO(3) and SO(4)
content of the rule in order to be prepared to pass to the SO(4,2) and then to the
SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) format of the periodic table.
In the central–field approximation, each of the Z electrons of an atom with
atomic number Z is partly characterized by the quantum numbers n, ℓ, and mℓ.
The numbers ℓ and mℓ are the orbital quantum number and the magnetic quantum
number, respectively. They are connected to the chain of groups SO(3)⊃SO(2): the
quantum number ℓ characterizes an IRC, of dimension 2ℓ + 1, of SO(3) and mℓ a
one–dimensional IRC of SO(2). The principal quantum number n is such that
n − ℓ − 1 is the number of nodes of the radial wave function associated with the
doublet (n, ℓ). In the case of the hydrogen atom or of a hydrogen–like atom, the
number n is connected to the group SO(4): the quantum number n characterizes
an IRC, of dimension n2, of SO(4). The latter IRC splits into the IRC’s of SO(3)
corresponding to ℓ = 0, 1, • • • , n−1 when SO(4) is restricted to SO(3). A complete
characterization of the dynamical state of each electron is provided by the quartet
(n, ℓ,mℓ,ms) or alternatively (n, ℓ, j,m). Here, the spin s = 1
2 of the electron has been introduced and ms is the z–component of the spin. Furthermore, j = 1
2 for ℓ = 0 and j can take the values j = ℓ − s and j = ℓ + s for ℓ 6= 0. The quantum
numbers j and m are connected to the chain of groups SU(2)⊃U(1): j characterizes
an IRC, of dimension 2j + 1, of SU(2) and m a one–dimensional IRC of U(1).
Each doublet (n, ℓ) defines an atomic shell. The ground state of the atom
is obtained by distributing the Z electrons of the atom among the various atomic
shells nℓ, n′ℓ′, n′′ℓ′′, • • • according to (i) an ordering rule and (ii) the Pauli exclusion
principle. A somewhat idealized situation is provided by the Madelung ordering
rule: the energy of the shells increases with n+ℓ and, for a given value of n+ℓ, with
n. This may be depicted by Fig. 1 where the rows are labelled with n = 1, 2, 3, • • •

and the columns with ℓ = 0, 1, 2, • • • and where the entry in the n–th row and ℓ–th
column is [n + ℓ, n]. We thus have the ordering [1, 1] < [2, 2] < [3, 2] < [3, 3] <
[4, 3] < [4, 4] < [5, 3] < [5, 4] < [5, 5] < [6, 4] < [6, 5] < [6, 6] < • • •. This dictionary
order corresponds to the following ordering of the nℓ shells
1s < 2s < 2p < 3s < 3p < 4s < 3d < 4p < 5s < 4d < 5p < 6s < • • • ,
which is verified to a good extent by experimental data.

Fig. 1. The [n + ℓ, n] Madelung array. The lines are labelled by n = 1, 2, 3, ・ ・ ・ and the
columns by ℓ = 0, 1, 2, ・ ・ ・. For fixed n, the label ℓ assumes the values ℓ = 0, 1, ・ ・ ・ , n−1.
From these considerations of an entirely atomic character, we can construct a
periodic table of chemical elements. We start from the Madelung array of Fig. 1.
Here, the significance of the quantum numbers n and ℓ is abandoned. The numbers
n and ℓ are now simple row and column indexes, respectively. We thus forget about
the significance of the quartet n, ℓ, j, m. The various blocks [n + ℓ, n] are filled
in the dictionary order, starting from [1, 1], with chemical elements of increasing
atomic numbers. More precisely, the block [n+ℓ, n] is filled with 2(2ℓ+1) elements,
the atomic numbers of which increase from left to right. This yields Fig. 2, where
each element is denoted by its atomic number Z. For instance, the block [1, 1] is
filled with 2(2 × 0 + 1) = 2 elements corresponding to Z = 1 up to Z = 2. In a
similar way, the blocks [2, 2] and [3, 2] are filled with 2(2×0+1) = 2 elements and
2(2 × 1 + 1) = 6 elements corresponding to Z = 3 up to Z = 4 and to Z = 5 up to
Z = 10, respectively. It is to be noted, that the so obtained periodic table a priori
contains an infinite number of elements: the n–th row contains 2n2 elements and
each column (bounded from top) contains an infinite number of elements.

Fig. 2. The periodic table deduced from the Madelung array. The box [n + ℓ, n] is filled
with 2(2ℓ+1) elements. The filling of the various boxes [n+ℓ, n] is done according to the
dictionary order implied by Fig. 1.


5 The periodic table `a la SO(4,2)⊗SU(2)
We are now in a position to give a group–theoretical articulation to the periodic
table of Fig. 2. For fixed n, the 2(2ℓ+1) elements in the block [n+ℓ, n], that we shall
refer to an ℓ–block, may be labelled in the following way. For ℓ = 0, the s–block in
the n–th row contains two elements that we can distinguish by the number m with
m ranging from −1
2 to 1
2 when going from left to right in the row. For ℓ 6= 0, the
ℓ–block in the n–th row can be divided into two sub-blocks, one corresponding to
j = ℓ − 1
2 (on the left) and the other to j = ℓ + 1
2 (on the right). Each sub-block
contains 2j + 1 elements, with 2j + 1 = 2ℓ for j = ℓ − 1
2 and 2j + 1 = 2(ℓ + 1) for
j = ℓ + 1
2 , that can be distinguished by the number m with m ranging from −j
to j by step of one unit when going from left to right in the row. In other words,
a chemical element can be located in the table by the quartet (n, ℓ, j,m), where
j = 1
2 for ℓ = 0.
Following Byakov, Kulakov, Rumer and Fet (Konopel’chenko and Rumer, 1979)
it is perhaps interesting to use an image with streets, avenues and houses in a city.
Let us call Mendeleev city the city whose west–east streets are labelled by n and
north–south avenues by (ℓ, j,m). In the n–th street there are n blocks of houses.
The n blocks are labelled by ℓ = 0, 1, • • • , n − 1 so that the address of a block is
(n, ℓ). Each block contains one sub-block (for ℓ = 0) or two sub-blocks (for ℓ 6= 0).
An address (n, ℓ, j,m) can be given to each house: n indicates the street, ℓ the

block, j the sub-block and m the location inside the sub-block. The organization
of the city appears in Fig. 3.
At this stage, it is worthwhile to re-give to the quartet (n, ℓ, j,m) its group–
theoretical significance. Then, Mendeleev city is clearly associated to the IRC h⊗[2]
of SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) where [2] stands for the fundamental representation of SU(2).
The whole city corresponds to the IRC
of SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) in the sense that all the possible quartets (n, ℓ, j,m), or alternatively
(n, ℓ,mℓ,ms), can be associated to state vectors spanning this IRC. In the
latter equation, (ℓ) and (j) stand for the IRC’s of SO(3) and SU(2) associated with
the quantum numbers ℓ and j, respectively.
We can ask the question: How to move in Mendeleev city? Indeed, there are
several bus lines to go from one house to another one? The SO(3) bus lines, also
called SO(3)⊗SU(2) ladder operators, make it possible to go from one house in
a given ℓ–block to another house in the same ℓ–block. The SO(4) bus lines, also
called SO(4)⊗SU(2) ladder operators, and the SO(2,1) bus lines, also called SO(2,1)
ladder operators, allow to move in a given street and in a given avenue, respectively.
Finally, it should be noted that there are taxis, also called SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) ladder
operators, to go from a given house to an arbitrary house.
Another question concerns the inhabitants, also called chemical elements, of
Mendeleev city. In fact, they are distinguished by a number Z, also called atomic
number. The inhabitant living at the address (n, ℓ, j,m) has the number
× (n + ℓ + 1) − 4ℓ(ℓ + 1) + ℓ + j(2ℓ + 1) + m − 1.
Each inhabitant may also have a nickname. All the inhabitants up to Z = 110 have
a nickname. For example, we have Ds, or darmstadtium in full, for Z = 110. Not
all the houses in Mendeleev city are inhabited. The inhabited houses go from Z = 1
to Z = 116 (the houses Z = 113 and Z = 115 are occupied since the beginning of
2004). The houses corresponding to Z ≥ 117 are not presently inhabited. When
a house is not inhabited, we also say that the corresponding element has not been
observed yet. The houses from Z = 111 to Z = 116 are inhabited but have not
received a nickname yet. The various inhabitants known at the present time are
indicated on Fig. 4.
It is not forbidden to get married in Mendeleev city. Each inhabitant may
get married with one or several inhabitants (including one or several clones). For
example, we know H2 (including H and its clone), HCl (including H and Cl), and
H2O (including O, H and its clone). However, there is a strict rule in the city:
the assemblages or married inhabitants have to leave the city. They must live in
another city and go to a city sometimes referred to as a molecular city. Only the
clones may stay in Mendeleev city.

6 Qualitative aspects of the SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) periodic table
Going back to Physics and Chemistry, we now describe Mendeleev city as a
periodic table for chemical elements. We have obtained a table with rows and
columns for which the n–th row contains 2n2 elements and the (ℓ, j,m)–th column
contains an infinite number of elements. A given column corresponds to a family of
chemical analogs, as in the standard periodic table, and a given row may contain
several periods of the standard periodic table.
The chemical elements in their ground state are considered as different states
of atomic matter: each atom in the table appears as a particular partner for
the (infinite–dimensional) unitary irreducible representation h ⊗ [2] of the group
SO(4,2)⊗SU(2), where SO(4,2) is reminiscent of the hydrogen atom and SU(2) is
introduced for a doubling purpose. In fact, it is possible to connect two partners
of the representation h ⊗ [2] by making use of shift operators of the Lie algebra of
SO(4,2)⊗SU(2). In other words, it is possible to pass from one atom to another one
by means of raising or lowering operators. The internal dynamics of each element is
ignored. In other words, each neutral atom is assumed to be a noncomposite physical
system. By way of illustration, we give a brief description of some particular
columns and rows of the table.
The alkali–metal atoms are in the first column (with ℓ = 0, j = 1
2 , m = −1
2 , and
n = 1, 2, • • •); in the atomic shell model, they correspond to an external shell of type
1s, 2s, 3s, • • •; we note that hydrogen (H) belongs to the alkali–metal atoms. The
second column (with ℓ = 0, j = 1
2 , m = 1
2 , and n = 1, 2, • • •) concerns the alkaline
earth metals with an external atomic shell of type 1s2, 2s2, 3s2, • • •; we note that
helium (He) belongs to the alkaline earth metals. The sixth column corresponds to
chalcogens (with ℓ = 1, j = 3
2 , m = −1
2 , and n = 2, 3, • • •) and the seventh column
to halogens (with ℓ = 1, j = 3
2 , m = 1
2 , and n = 2, 3, • • •); it is to be observed
that hydrogen does not belong to halogens as it is often the case in usual periodic
tables. The eighth column (with ℓ = 1, j = 3
2 , m = 3
2 , and n = 2, 3, • • •) gives the
noble gases with an external atomic shell of type 2p6, 3p6, 4p6, • • •; helium, with the
atomic configuration 1s22s2, does not belong to the noble gases in contrast with
usual periodic tables.
The d–blocks with n = 3, 4 and 5 yield the three familiar transition series: the
iron group goes from Sc(21) to Zn(30), the palladium group from Y(39) to Cd(48)
and the platinum group from Lu(71) to Hg(80). A fourth transition series goes
from Lr(103) to Z = 112 (observed but not named yet). In the shell model, the
four transition series correspond to the filling of the nd shell while the (n+1)s shell
is fully occupied, with n = 3 (iron group series), n = 4 (palladium group series),
n = 5 (platinum group series) and n = 6 (fourth series). The two familiar inner
transition series are the f–blocks with n = 4 and n = 5: the lanthanide series goes
from La(57) to Yb(70) and the actinide series from Ac(89) to No(102). Observe
that lanthanides start with La(57) not Ce(58) and actinides start with Ac(89) not
Th(90). We note that lanthanides and actinides occupy a natural place in the table
and are not reduced to appendages as it is generally the case in usual periodic
tables in 18 columns. A superactinide series is predicted to go from Z = 139 to

Z = 152 (and not from Z = 122 to Z = 153 as predicted by G.T. Seaborg). In
a shell model approach, the inner transition series correspond to the filling of the
nf shell while the (n + 2)s shell is fully occupied, with n = 4 (lanthanides), n = 5
(actinides) and n = 6 (superactinides). In contrast with Seaborg predictions, the
table in Fig. 4 shows that the elements from Z = 121 to Z = 138 form a new period
having no homologue among the known elements.
In Section 5, we have noted that each ℓ–block with ℓ 6= 0 gives rise to two subblocks.
As an example, the f–block for the lanthanides is composed of a sub-block,
corresponding to j = 5
2 , from La(57) to Sm(62) and another one, corresponding to
j = 7
2 , from Eu(63) to Yb(70). This division corresponds to the classification in
light or ceric rare earths (j = 5
2 ) and heavy or yttric rare earths (j = 7
2 ). It has
received justifications both from the experimental (Pascal, 1960) and the theoretical
(Oudet, 1979) sides.
From a qualitative point of view, the new aspects to come out of this theoretical
analysis can be summed up as follows: (i) hydrogen and helium naturally occur in
the first and second columns, respectively; (ii) the inner transition series (d-block),
the transition series (f-block) and the g-block occupy a natural place in the table
(they are not relegated at the periphery of the table); (iii) each of the latter blocks
(as well as the p-block) exhibits a division into two sub-blocks that is reminiscent of
the relativistic splitting (ℓ) → (ℓ− 1
2 )⊕(ℓ+ 1
2 ) which should be significant for heavy
elements, cf. the distinction between ceric earths and yttric earths (Pascal, 1960);
(iv) the number of elements afforded by the table is a priori infinite, in view of
the infinite–dimensional irreducible representation of SO(4,2) on which the table is
based (observable elements and/or particles correspond to only a few of the allowed
quantum mechanical states).
Another radical outcome from this approach concern the possibility of using
group theory from a quantitative point of view. Chemists are very familiar with
the use of group–theoretical methods for deriving qualitative results (vibration
modes, level splitting, selection rules, etc.). We give in the following section the
main lines of a research programme for quantitatively exploiting the potential forces
of SO(4,2)⊗SU(2).


7 Quantitative aspects of the SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) periodic table
To date, the use of SO(4,2) or SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) in connection with periodic charts
has been limited to qualitative aspects only, viz., classification of neutral atoms
and ions as well. We would like to give here the main lines of a programme under
development (inherited from nuclear physics and particle physics) for dealing with
quantitative aspects.
The first step concerns the mathematics of the programme. The direct product
group SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) is a Lie group of order eighteen. Let us first consider the
SO(4,2) part which is a semi-simple Lie group of order r = 15 and of rank ℓ = 3.
It has thus fifteen generators involving three Cartan generators (i.e., generators
commuting between themselves). Furthermore, it has three invariant operators or
From the Mendeleev periodic table . . .
Fig. 4. The inhabitants of Mendeleev city. The houses up to number Z = 116 are
inhabited [‘X?’ means inhabited (or observed) but not named, ‘no’ means not inhabited
(or not observed)].
Casimir operators (i.e., independent polynomials, in the enveloping algebra of the
Lie algebra of SO(4,2), that commute with all generators of the group SO(4,2)).
Therefore, we have a set of six (3+3) operators that commute between themselves:
the three Cartan generators and the three Casimir operators. Indeed, this set is not
complete from the mathematical point of view. In other words, the eigenvalues of
the six above-mentioned operators are not sufficient for labelling the state vectors
in the representation space of SO(4,2). According to a not very well–known result,
popularized by Racah, we need to find 1
2 (r − 3ℓ) = 3 additional operators in order
to complete the set of the six preceding operators. This yields a complete set of
nine (6 + 3) commuting operators and this solves the state labelling problem for
the group SO(4,2). The consideration of the group SU(2) is trivial: SU(2) is a
semi-simple Lie group of order r = 3 and of rank ℓ = 1 so that 1
2 (r − 3ℓ) = 0 in
that case. As a result, we end up with a complete set of eleven (9 + 2) commuting
operators.
The second step establishes contact with chemical physics. Each of the eleven
operators can be taken to be self-adjoint and thus, from the quantum–mechanical
point of view, can describe an observable. Indeed, four of the eleven operators,
namely, the three Casimir operators of SO(4,2) and the Casimir operator of SU(2),
serve for labelling the representation h ⊗ [2] of SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) for which the various
chemical elements are partners. The seven remaining operators can thus be
used for describing chemical and physical properties of the elements, as for instance:
ionization energy; oxidation degree; electron affinity; electronegativity; melting and
boiling points; specific heat; atomic radius; atomic volume; density; magnetic susceptibility;
solubility; etc. In most cases, this can be done by expressing a chemical
observable associated with a given property (for which we have few experimental
data) in terms of the seven operators which serve as an integrity basis for the various
observables. Each observable can be developed as a linear combination of operators
constructed from the integrity basis. This is reminiscent of group–theoretical techniques
used in nuclear and atomic spectroscopy (cf. the Interacting Boson Model)
or in hadronic spectroscopy (cf. the Gell-Mann/Okubo mass formulas for baryons
and mesons).
The last step is to proceed with a diagonalization process and then to fit the
various linear combinations to experimental data. This can be achieved through
fitting procedures concerning either a period of elements, taken along a same line
of the periodic table, or a family of elements, taken along a same column of the
periodic table. For each property this will lead to a formula or phenomenological law
that can be used in turn for making predictions concerning the chemical elements
for which no data are available. In addition, it is hoped that this will shed light on
regularities and well–known as well as recently discovered patterns of the periodic
table, such as unexpected patterns connecting elements via a knight’s move in the
table (Laing, 2004; Rayner–Canham, 2004).

8 Closing remarks
Group–theoretical methods based on symmetry considerations have been continuously
developed during the 20th century in order to classify the constituents
of matter and to understand their interactions. The SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) periodic table
presented in this article was set up along lines similar to the ones used for classifying
fundamental particles via flavor groups. The group SO(4,2)⊗SU(2) is a flavor
group in the sense that each chemical element appears to be a particular state (or
flavor) of a single element.
We close this paper with two remarks. Possible extensions of the work presented
in Sections 5–7 concern isotopes and molecules. The consideration of isotopes needs
the introduction of the number of nucleons in the atomic nucleus. With such an
introduction we have to consider other dimensions for Mendeleev city: the city is
no longer restricted to spread in Flatland. Group–theoretical analyses of periodic
systems of molecules can be achieved by considering direct products involving several
copies of SO(4,2)⊗SU(2). Several works have been already devoted to this
subject (Kibler, 2006).

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to the Referee for pertinent criticism and useful suggestions.

References

[1] Barut, A.O. Group Structure of the Periodic System. In B.G. Wybourne, editor,
The Structure of Matter. University of Canterbury Publications, Christchurch, New
Zealand, pp. 126-136, 1972.
[2] Barut, A.O. and H. Kleinert. Transition Form Factors in the H Atom. Phys. Rev.,
160:1149–1151, 1967.
[3] Kibler, M.R. On the Use of the Group SO(4,2) in Atomic and Molecular Physics.
Mol. Phys., 102:1221–1230, 2004.
[4] Kibler, M.R. A group–Theoretical Approach to the Periodic Table: Old and New
Developments. In D.H. Rouvray and R.B. King, editors, The Mathematics of the
Periodic Table. Nova Science, NY, pp. 237-263, 2006.
[5] Kibler, M. and T. N.egadi. Connection between the Hydrogen Atom and the Harmonic
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[8] L.owdin, P.-O. Some Comments on the Periodic System of the Elements. Int. J.
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[19] van Spronsen, J.W. The Periodic System of Chemical Elements: A History of the
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