95Am Americium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Albert Ghiorso, Ralph James, L. Morgan and Glenn Seaborg of the USA

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named after America, americium is a silvery, radioactive metal. It is chemically active and reacts with air, water and acids but not bases. It has never been found naturally, but several kilograms are produced each year. Americium is a particularly high alpha and gamma ray emitter. It is used in gamma-ray imaging equipment and as an ionization source in smoke detectors. The most stable isotope of americium has a half-life of 7,370 years.

Biological Benefits

Americium has no biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit to life processes in plants and animals.


Americium is obtained by particle bombardment of plutonium.