German scientists have reportedly created atoms of a new super-heavy element, Element 117, that may soon be added to the standard periodic table.
According to LiveScience, researchers at an accelerator laboratory
in Darmstadt, Germany, say they have created and observed several atoms of Element 117, which got its name from having 117 protons in its nucleus.
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A team of American and Russian scientists first reported Element 117, which also goes by the temporary name of “ununseptium,” in 2010. Since that time, researchers have conducted further tests to confirm that the new element actually exists.
"There are predictions that super-heavy elements should exist which are very long-lived," Christoph Düllmann, a professor at the Institute for Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz told LiveScience. "It is interesting to find out if half-lives become long again for very heavy elements, especially if very neutron-rich species are made."
The super-heavy elements, ones with 104 protons in a nucleus and higher, aren’t found naturally on Earth. The heaviest element occurring in nature is uranium with 92 protons.
A committee from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry will reportedly review the findings to decide whether to formally accept and grant an official name to Element 117.
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