Feeds

Boffins make heaviest ever element?

Obesity trend continues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

A collaborative research team of Russian and America scientists may have created two new heavyweight elements. Provisionally named Ununpentium and Ununtrium, if confirmed, these will be the heaviest elements on official record, with 115 and 113 protons in the nuclei, respectively.

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia bombarded an Americium target with heavy Calcium atoms. Initial results suggested that an atom with 115 protons in its nucleus had been created. This existed for 90 milliseconds* before decaying into a smaller, but still massive element with 113 protons in its nucleus. This stayed around for 1.2 seconds, enough time for some interesting chemistry, according to a report in Nature**.

The scientific world is reacting cautiously to the news: in 2001 a scientist was found to have faked results indicating that he had created an even heavier element with an atomic number of 118. Since that incident, verification of any results has been an absolute priority.

The findings also hint that scientists are getting close to the predicted ‘Island of Stability'. This is a region in the periodic table where very heavy atoms are stable, because of the particular arrangement that the nuclear particles may take.

The heaviest element to occur in nature is Uranium, weighing in at 92 on the atomic number scale.

Heavier elements than that decay rapidly as the strong, attractive nuclear force is overcome by the repulsive, electrostatic force between protons. The heaviest officially-certified*** synthetic element, Darmstadtium, had 110 protons. Researchers have reported finding elements with 111, 112, 114 and 116 protons. These are yet to be officially confirmed.

However, a zone in which the protons could find a stable arrangement is predicted, and these ghostly sightings indicate that this could be getting close. In this region, elements may remain stable for a number of years. By contrast, the lives of ‘normal’ elements however, are of the order of the age of the universe.

The findings were originally reported in Physical Review . ®

*During which time it received several unsolicited emails, and sent its bank account details to someone in Nigeria

**And plenty of time for Jordan to have had a meaningful relationship with it. Details will be in her new book.

*** Certified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.