Theoretical estimates for the lifetimes of several isotopes of heavy elements with Z = 102 - 120 are presented by calculating the quantum mechanical tunneling probability in a WKB framework and using microscopic nucleus-nucleus potential obtained by folding the densities of interacting nuclei with the DDM3Y effective nuclear interaction. The α-decay half lives calculated in this formalism using the experimental Q-values are in good agreement over a wide range of experimental data. Half lives are also calculated using Q-values extracted from two mass formulae. The Viola-Seaborg-Sobiczewski (VSS) estimates of α-decay half lives with the same Q-values are presented for comparison. The half life calculations are found to be quite sensitive to the choice of Q-values. Comparison with the experimental data delineates the inadequacies of older mass predictions in the domain of heavy and superheavy elements as compared to the newer one by Muntian-Hofmann-Patyk-Sobiczewski, and highlights necessity of a more accurate mass formula which can predict Q-values with even higher precision. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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