It was recently confirmed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac) that four new elements have been successfully synthesized. Their atomic numbers are 113, 115, 117, and 118. With these four new elements we finally fill out the 7th row of the Periodic table.
If you have been living under a rock or you just need to brush up on your chemistry and periodic table trivia then watch this great video bySocratica.
Three groups were credited with creating these elements, hailing from Japan, Russia, and the US, they spent many years gathering enough evidence to convince IUPAC and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAC’s sister union for physics, IUPAP) experts that they had indeed succeeded in their synthesis.
This is difficult because all four of the new elements are very unstable superheavy metals and they decay extremely fast. To create the elements heavy metals were bombarded with ion beams. The detection of the new elements can typically only be measured by means of reading the nuclides and radiation which are put out upon their inevitable decay, which takes delicate instruments and a lot of repeated experiments to ensure their findings are correct. The groups would need a lot of evidence ro support each claim.
Element 113 – ununtrium (temporary name)
This was the first element to be discovered in Easten Asia and was created by Kosuke Morita’s group. These scientists worked at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science in Japan. They first claimed to have created the element in 2004, but needed more evidence to support their claim as their were still uncertainties which needed to be accounted for.
This element was developed by shooting a beam of zinc-70 at a heavy metal target of bismuth-209. By 2012 they had enough evidence to support their findings.
The next two elements:
Elements 115 – ununpentium (temporary name)
Elements 117 – ununseptium (temporary name)
were created by a collaboration between three institutions.
- The Lawrence Livermore National Library – US
- The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research – Russia
- The Oak Ridge National Laboratory – US
Element 118 – ununoctium (temporary name)
which was also created by the Lawrence Livermore-Joint Institute for Nuclear Research collaboration in published work from 2006.
Now that IUPAC and IUPAP have determined that the discoveries are indeed a reality, and the new elements are officially being added to the periodic table, the institutions responsible for finding them will be awarded the honors of naming them.
Pretty much what this all means is that now all those posters, mugs, t-shirts, and tapestries are ALL WRONG! and you need to go buy new ones.
Sadly, it will be a bit longer before the textbooks can all be updated, as the names and symbols will need to be approved by the inorganic chemistry division of IUPAC, who will also submit them for public review. There are an assortment of rules which govern what you can name an element, and these will need to be abide by. The Royal Chemistry Society has a nice list of them here.
They predict it to take between four to six months at the present moment to name the four new elements.
Now, with that behind us, we have to look forward to the next set of elements. Evidently, researchers expect there to be a stable area as we get further on into the superheavy metals beyond atomic number 118. It looks as if time will tell…