Evidence for new element in Periodic Table

Chemistry students could soon have to learn an additional atom on the Periodic Table after scientists claim to have proven the existence of a new element.

Element 115 could be the latest addition to the Periodic Table. It is one of a number of theoretical elements.
The atom, which has an atomic number of 115, is one of the heaviest chemical elements detected to date and does not occur naturally.
Instead scientists had to synthesis it in the laboratory by bombarding a film of another heavy element known as americium with calcium ions.
The resulting element lasted for just a fraction of a second before it decaying into more commonly found elements.
Although it has yet to be officially named, Element 115 has the temporary name of ununpentium.
Conspiracy theorists have in the past claimed that ununpentium was part of technology used by UFOs and it has also featured heavily in computer games as a source for weapons.
However, in reality the uses for the new element, which is highly unstable and so short lived, are likely to be extremely limited.
The new findings must now be assessed by a panel of international experts who will decide whether it can be included in the periodic table.
Ununpentium is one of a number of elements that were theoretically thought to exist.
It was first created in 2004 by a team of Russian and American scientists but the evidence was deemed insufficient for it to be officially classified as a new element.
The latest experiments to prove the existence of Element 115 were conducted at Lund University in Sweden.
Professor Dirk Rudolph, who led the work at the division of atomic physics at Lund University, said he hoped it would now allow the element to be included in the periodic table.
He said: "This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years.
"There are three isotopes of element 115 thought to be known or observed: Those with 172, 173, and 174 neutrons in the nucleus - 287-115, 288-115 and 289-115.
"Based on the data from the 288-115 nuclei, this isotope has a half-life of 160 milliseconds."
The researchers were able to detect Element 115 by looking for a distinctive fingerprint in the X-ray radiation it gave off.
New elements are assessed by members of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.
In 2011 they approved the names of three new elements that have the atomic numbers 110, 111 and 112. These were named darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn).
The most recently approved element was Livermorium, which has the atomic number 116 and had its name adopted in May 2012.


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