A research team has discovered that clusters of aluminum atoms can impersonate the chemical properties of single atoms of other elements. They have dubbed these clusters "superatoms." In experiments with polyiodides, they've found that a superatom of 13 aluminum atoms (Al13) behaves much like an iodine atom, while an Al14 superatom behaves more like an alkaline earth atom such as beryllium.
Joint head of the research, Shiv N. Khanna of Virginia Commonwealth University: "The flexibility of an Al13 cluster to act as an iodine atom shows that superatoms can have synthetic utility, providing an unexplored 'third dimension' to the traditional periodic table of elements. [...] Applications using Al13 clusters instead of iodine in polymers may lead to the development of improved conducting materials. Assembling Al13I units may provide aluminum materials that will not oxidize, and may help to overcome a major problem in fuels that burn aluminum particles."
ZPi Research Labs will be following this discovery for application in Superatomic AFDB (SAFDB) technology that may provide better corrosion protection for Cascadian users.