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Japan Science

Japanese Scientists Produce Element 113 150

Third Position writes "The most unambiguous data to date on the elusive 113th atomic element has been obtained by researchers at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science (RNC). A chain of six consecutive alpha decays, produced in experiments at the RIKEN Radioisotope Beam Factory (RIBF), conclusively identifies the element through connections to well-known daughter nuclides. The search for superheavy elements is a difficult and painstaking process. Such elements do not occur in nature and must be produced through experiments involving nuclear reactors or particle accelerators, via processes of nuclear fusion or neutron absorption. Since the first such element was discovered in 1940, the United States, Russia and Germany have competed to synthesize more of them. Elements 93 to 103 were discovered by the Americans, elements 104 to 106 by the Russians and the Americans, elements 107 to 112 by the Germans, and the two most recently named elements, 114 and 116, by cooperative work of the Russians and Americans. With their latest findings, associate chief scientist Kosuke Morita and his team at the RNC are set follow in these footsteps and make Japan the first country in Asia to name an atomic element."
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Japanese Scientists Produce Element 113

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  • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:14PM (#41469549) Homepage Journal
    ...Ununtrium [wikipedia.org]! Like all of the elements in that range that haven't been sufficiently studied yet. Great job naming it, Japan.

    But for those curious, it's a toss-up between "Japonium," "Rikenium," and "Becquerelium". (Some Russians were involved and felt that the French physicist Henri Becquerel was under appreciated.)
  • Re:What for? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:45PM (#41469975)

    No practical uses apart from scientific, as all isotopes of these superheavy elements have short half-lifes (mostly in the ms to a few seconds range). So it's impossible to put significant amounts of such an element together.

    But if the "island of stability [wikipedia.org]" theory holds true, we might see some larger amounts of yet-to-be-produced elements. Which might have practical applications (but probably extremely expensive to produce).

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:52PM (#41470059) Journal

    Do you get much more appreciated than having an SI unit [wikipedia.org] named after you?

  • by MagusSlurpy ( 592575 ) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:48PM (#41471995) Homepage

    A Japanese scientist thought he had discovered technetium [wikipedia.org] in the early 1900s and named it nipponium, but it was actually just an impure sample of rhenium. IUPAC policy states that any name used temporarily or even incorrectly cannot ever be used again, as it would cause confusion with the literature ("Okay, so this paper says nipponium forms an alloy with carbon, iron, and silicon, while this paper says nipponium only alloys with transition metals!").

    So unfortunately there will never be a nipponium.

  • Re:What for? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @08:59PM (#41472145)

    An island of stability has been observed, but so far it looks like "most stable" means half-life of a few tens of seconds instead of sub-seconds.

    Also, the density will depend on the chemistry a lot, and not just increase with higher atomic mass in every case. You can look at the density of transuranic elements, and see that elements 95-99 are about 25-50% lighter than 92-94. Might be a while before a 100 kg golfball, since that would be 125 times denser than uranium. Although you can get a 0.9 kg osmium golf ball now, and that would be pretty damn heavy as is.

  • Re:What for? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @09:18PM (#41472353)
    So far the island of stability theory is holding true (with maybe a little updating on what is the best number of nucleons in a nucleus). It doesn't necessary mean the elements will be stable, just more stable... which so far means half-life of seconds.

Loose bits sink chips.