Studies of the superheavy elements have been a pillar of the research program at the GSI Darmstadt for decades.
I will introduce the current status of the field and show recent highlights of the richness of the GSI program, which includes studies on superheavy element synthesis and nuclear as well as atomic structure. I will then discuss chemical properties of elements around flerovium (Fl, element 114), which are the heaviest elements chemically studied to date and are in the focus of our current chemistry program. A main goal is to elucidate their reactivity, which defines their chemical character and hence tells us how well they fit to the well-established structure of the periodic table.
Finally, I will show how methodical improvements in target production and characterization, which is crucial for superheavy element production due to the ever increasing beam intensities, benefits many collaboration partners in various areas of fundamental physics research that depend on high-quality tailor-made thin-layer samples of rare actinide isotopes.