[Kr] 4d55s2
2, 8, 18, 13, 2
2157°C, 3915°F, 2430 K
4262°C, 7704°F, 4535 K
Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segrè
More Information
expand all +
collapse all -

Uses and Properties

Image Explanation

Technetium has various isotopes, and some of them are radioactive. One of its isotopes, technetium-99m, is widely used in nuclear medicine for imaging purposes.


A radioactive, silvery metal that does not occur naturally.


Unveiling the Marvels of Technetium: A Radiant Element Transforming Medical Imaging

In the realm of modern science and medicine, the periodic table unveils elements that play crucial roles in advancing our understanding of the human body. One such element, often overshadowed by its more illustrious counterparts, is Technetium. With its unique properties, Technetium has found a significant place in the world of medical imaging, revolutionizing diagnostic procedures and contributing to the forefront of healthcare.


The Birth of Technetium: A Synthetic Marvel

Technetium, with the chemical symbol Tc and atomic number 43, is a synthetic element, meaning it is not naturally occurring on Earth. Discovered in 1937 by Italian scientists Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segrè, Technetium holds the distinction of being the first element artificially produced. Its synthetic nature, derived in laboratories through various nuclear reactions, has paved the way for innovative applications, particularly in the field of medicine.


Technetium-99m: Illuminating the Path to Precision Medicine

The most notable isotope of Technetium is Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), a radioactive form of the element. Despite its radioactivity, Tc-99m is considered safe for medical use due to its short half-life. What makes Tc-99m particularly valuable is its ability to emit gamma rays, a property harnessed for medical imaging.


Nuclear Medicine's Finest Tool: Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)

Technetium-99m is the workhorse behind a powerful imaging technique known as Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). This imaging modality provides three-dimensional views of internal organs and tissues, offering unparalleled insights into the functioning of the human body. SPECT scans using Technetium-99m have become a cornerstone in the diagnosis and treatment planning for a myriad of medical conditions.


Cardiology: Peering into the Beating Heart

In the realm of cardiology, Technetium-99m plays a pivotal role in myocardial perfusion imaging. By injecting a small amount of a Technetium-99m compound into the bloodstream, clinicians can visualize blood flow to the heart muscle. This aids in the identification of coronary artery disease, evaluation of heart function, and assessment of the effectiveness of interventions.


Oncology: Detecting and Monitoring Cancer

Technetium-99m has also proven indispensable in the field of oncology. Its ability to target specific tissues allows for the creation of radiopharmaceuticals that accumulate in cancerous cells. This selective accumulation enables the visualization of tumors through SPECT imaging, aiding in the early detection, staging, and monitoring of cancer.


Bone Scans: Illuminating Skeletal Structures

Another crucial application of Technetium-99m lies in bone imaging. Skeletal abnormalities, fractures, and metastatic bone lesions can be precisely identified through bone scans using Technetium-99m. This diagnostic tool has proven invaluable in orthopedics and oncology, facilitating timely interventions and personalized treatment plans.


Beyond Diagnosis: Therapeutic Applications

While Technetium-99m is primarily utilized for diagnostic purposes, other isotopes of Technetium have found applications in therapeutic interventions. Technetium-99, for instance, has been explored for its potential in targeted radiation therapy for certain types of cancer.


The Future of Technetium Imaging

As technology advances, researchers continue to explore new avenues for Technetium imaging. Efforts are underway to enhance the sensitivity and specificity of imaging agents, enabling even more accurate diagnoses. Additionally, the development of hybrid imaging techniques, such as SPECT/CT and SPECT/MRI, further refines our ability to visualize anatomical and functional details simultaneously.

In conclusion, Technetium has emerged as a silent hero in the world of medical imaging, facilitating precise diagnoses and guiding therapeutic interventions. Its synthetic nature, coupled with its radioactive properties, has allowed scientists and clinicians to unlock new frontiers in healthcare. As we delve deeper into the mysteries of the human body, Technetium continues to illuminate the path toward a future where medical imaging is not just a tool but a key to personalized and effective healthcare.


In the vast landscape of the periodic table, the story of Technetium (Tc) stands out as a testament to human ingenuity and scientific exploration. With its unique place as the first artificially created element, Technetium has etched a remarkable history that spans the realms of discovery, innovation, and medical breakthroughs.


The Genesis of Technetium: A Lab-Crafted Marvel

Technetium, with its atomic number 43 and chemical symbol Tc, was born not in the crucible of stars but in the controlled environment of a laboratory. The year was 1937, and Italian scientists Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segrè were at the forefront of a scientific endeavor that would rewrite the books of chemistry. Through a series of experiments, they successfully synthesized Technetium, marking the dawn of a new era in the exploration of elements.

Prior to this breakthrough, the periodic table was believed to have a gap between molybdenum (Mo) and ruthenium (Ru). Technetium, with its existence residing solely in the realm of theory, filled this void, challenging the conventional understanding of element formation in nature.


The Synthetic Symphony: Technetium's Diverse Isotopes

Technetium boasts a range of isotopes, each with distinct properties and applications. One of the most noteworthy isotopes is Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), a radioactive variant celebrated for its pivotal role in medical imaging. The synthetic nature of Technetium's isotopes opens doors to a myriad of possibilities in fields such as nuclear medicine, where precision and safety are paramount.


Nuclear Medicine's Radiant Star: Technetium-99m Imaging

The rise of Technetium-99m as a cornerstone in nuclear medicine is a testament to its unique characteristics. With a short half-life and the ability to emit gamma rays, Tc-99m became the gold standard for various imaging techniques, particularly Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT). SPECT imaging using Technetium-99m provides clinicians with detailed insights into the inner workings of the human body, enabling precise diagnoses and personalized treatment plans.


Radiopharmaceutical Revolution: Technetium-99m in Medical Diagnosis

Technetium-99m's journey into the realm of medicine extends beyond theory and into practical applications. Radiopharmaceuticals, compounds containing Technetium-99m, are employed in diagnostic procedures to visualize organs, tissues, and physiological processes. From cardiology, where Technetium-99m illuminates the intricacies of blood flow in the heart, to oncology, where it aids in detecting and monitoring cancer, the applications of Technetium-99m have transformed the landscape of medical diagnosis.


Technetium's Dance with Therapeutic Frontiers

While Technetium-99m predominantly takes the stage in diagnostics, other isotopes of Technetium have been explored for their therapeutic potential. Technetium-99, for instance, has shown promise in targeted radiation therapy for certain types of cancer. This dual role—diagnostic and therapeutic—highlights the versatility and adaptability of Technetium in the evolving field of healthcare.


Unveiling the Future: Technetium in Advanced Imaging Technologies

As science continues to march forward, so does the role of Technetium in shaping the future of medical imaging. Hybrid imaging techniques, such as SPECT/CT and SPECT/MRI, synergize anatomical and functional details, providing a more comprehensive understanding of physiological processes. Ongoing research aims to refine Technetium-based imaging agents, pushing the boundaries of sensitivity and specificity in diagnostic procedures.

In conclusion, the history of Technetium is a chronicle of scientific daring and innovation. From its inception in the laboratories of Perrier and Segrè to its pivotal role in modern medicine, Technetium has traversed a path that continues to inspire researchers, clinicians, and healthcare enthusiasts alike. As Technetium's journey unfolds, we find ourselves at the cusp of a new era, where synthetic elements not only fill the gaps in our periodic table but also illuminate the way forward in the pursuit of knowledge and healing.

Atomic Data

Atomic Radiues, Non-bonded (A): 2.16
Electron Affinity (kJ mol-1): 53.07
Covalent Radiues (A): 1.38
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale): 2.10
Ionisation Energies (kJ mol-1) 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
702.41 1472.37 2850.18 - - - - -

Oxidation States and Isotopes

Common oxidation states 7
Isotope Atomic Mass Natural Abundance Half Life Mode of Decay
97Tc 96.906 7.59 4.2 x 106 y EC
98Tc 97.907 7.59 6.6 x 106 y β-
- EC
99Tc 98.906 7.59 2.13 x 105 y β-

Pressure and Temperature Data

Specific Heat Capacity: Unknown
Shear Modulus: Unknown
Young Modulus: Unknown
Bulk Modulus: Unknown
Pressure 400k Pressure 600k Pressure 800k Pressure 1000k Pressure 1200k Pressure 1400k Pressure 1600k Pressure 1800k Pressure 2000k Pressure 2200k Pressure 2400k
- - - - - - - - - - Unknown


Transcript :

Technetium is a relatively new element. It is placed between manganese and rhenium belongings into the 7th group of the periodic table. The name comes from the Greek word tekhnetos, which means, artificial. Its role in human health is not clear and is not considered a biologically important element. Nevertheless, Technetium is produced in tonne quantities in nuclear reactors, it is adding to the planetary burden of unwanted radioactive waste. A little technetium escapes to the environment via its use in medical diagnosis. The most common isotope is technetium 99.

The discovery of this element is notable because it was the first artificially produced element. It was discovered by Italian physicist Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segre in 1937. At the time, they were convinced that two new elements had been found. Their experiments work successfully; however, they were inconclusive. Emilio Segre isolated the element from a sample of molybdenum. The discovery of Technetium was not only a major milestone in astronomy, but it also paved the way for stellar Nucleosynthesis, the process by which stars build heavier elements. Therefore, it has considered an essential part of astronomical research.

Some red giants have an absorption line showing that the star is a rich source of Technetium. But how did this element get there? Perhaps it was forged through nuclear reactions.

Technetium is a very rare element, found mostly in trace quantities on Earth. It is a byproduct of nuclear fission. It is present in nuclear waste, including that from fission bombs and nuclear reactors. This element is also found naturally in some ores, especially uranium ores. A small amount of Technetium is even present in some seafood. Naturally occurring technetium is a spontaneous fission product in uranium and thorium ores. However, there are only minute traces of this element in nature. Consequently, a large part of its production is sourced synthetically.

Production of Technetium is a complex process. For instance, technetium-99 is formed as a byproduct of the fission of uranium-235, but other isotopes of technetium are not created in large amounts.

Technetium is a silvery grey metal and has numerous properties, including resistance to heat and oxidation. This element has a distinctive appearance that is similar to platinum. This element dissolves in concentrated sulfuric acid. Technetium is slightly paramagnetic and has a conductivity-to-weight ratio of less than iron. Crystalline Technetium does have a hexagonal close-packed configuration. With a half-life of 4.2 millions of years, technetium is a very stable element and it has 9 distinct oxidizing states.

Technically speaking, Technetium is a transition metal with an electron affinity of 53 kilojoule per mol and has a latent heat of vaporization of 660 kilojoule per mol. Its first ionization energy is 7.28 electron volts. This is comparable to the ionization energies of manganese, rhenium and lead. Its density is 11.5 gram per cubic centimeter, which is rather high. Chemically speaking, technetium has characteristics that fall somewhere in the middle of those of rhenium and manganese. The photo-peak of its gamma ray emission is strong, and its half-life is quite brief. Several different types of Technetium complexes have been created, each featuring a unique set of stable chemical motifs.

Technetium has a variety of applications. However, it is radioactive, making it a problem in finding safe uses for it. This element is used to make many materials for use in electronics. Technetium is also used for chemical and physical studies.

One of the first uses for this new element was the creation of stronger steel. However, Technetium is also used in nuclear medicine devices. For medical purposes, technetium-99 is used in nuclear diagnostics. For instance, beta particles made from Technetium 99 are employed in several medical diagnostic procedures. It has been widely used in radiopharmaceuticals for a number of clinical applications. The FDA has approved Technetium 99m, which is a metastable nuclear isomer of technetium 99, for its use in brain, thyroid, bone and liver imaging. In the past, Technetium has been used in SPECT and PET. Today, these two diagnostic imaging modalities are increasingly being replaced by ultra-fast SPECT cameras. They have sub-millimeter resolutions and are expected to open up numerous clinical opportunities as a diagnostic agent, using Technetium 99 m.


  • W. M. Haynes, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press/Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, FL, 95th Edition, Internet Version 2015, accessed December 2014.

  • Tables of Physical & Chemical Constants, Kaye & Laby Online, 16th edition, 1995. Version 1.0 (2005), accessed December 2014.

  • J. S. Coursey, D. J. Schwab, J. J. Tsai, and R. A. Dragoset, Atomic Weights and Isotopic Compositions (version 4.1), 2015, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, accessed November 2016.

  • T. L. Cottrell, The Strengths of Chemical Bonds, Butterworth, London, 1954.

  • John Emsley, Nature’s Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, Oxford University Press, New York, 2nd Edition, 2011.

  • Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility - Office of Science Education, It’s Elemental - The Periodic Table of Elements, accessed December 2014.