Synthetic radioactive chemical element, chemical symbol Am, atomic number 95. The fourth transuranium element discovered, it was first produced in 1944 from plutonium-239 in a nuclear reactor. The isotope americium-241 has been prepared in kilogram quantities and is used in a variety of measuring applications that utilize its gamma radiation. Its most familiar use is in household smoke detectors.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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