4 New Elements Are Added To The Periodic Table

For now, they’re known by working names, like ununseptium and ununtrium — two of the four new chemical elements whose discovery has been officially verified. The elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 will get permanent names soon, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

With the discoveries now confirmed, “The 7th period of the periodic table of elements is complete,” according to the IUPAC. The additions come nearly five years after elements 114 (flerovium, or Fl) and element 116 (livermorium or Lv) were added to the table.

The elements were discovered in recent years by researchers in Japan, Russia and the United States. Element 113 was discovered by a group at the Riken Institute, which calls it “the first element on the periodic table found in Asia.”

Three other elements were discovered by a collaborative effort among the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. That collaboration has now discovered six new elements, including two that also involved the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Classified as “superheavy” — the designation given to elements with more than 104 protons — the new elements were created by using particle accelerators to shoot beams of nuclei at other, heavier, target nuclei.

The new elements’ existence was confirmed by further experiments that reproduced them — however briefly. Element 113, for instance, exists for less than a thousandth of a second.

“A particular difficulty in establishing these new elements is that they decay into hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements that also need to be unequivocally identified,” said Paul Karol, chair of the IUPAC’s Joint Working Party, announcing the new elements. The working group includes members of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.

The elements’ temporary names stem from their spot on the periodic table — for instance, ununseptium has 117 protons. Each of the discovering teams have now been asked to submit names for the new elements.

With the additions, the bottom of the periodic table now looks like a bit like a completed crossword puzzle — and that led us to get in touch with Karol to ask about the next row, the eighth period.

“There are a couple of laboratories that have already taken shots at making elements 119 and 120 but with no evidence yet of success,” he said in an email. “The eighth period should be very interesting because relativistic effects on electrons become significant and difficult to pinpoint. It is in the electron behavior, perhaps better called electron psychology, that the chemical behavior is embodied.”

Karol says that researchers will continue seeking “the alleged but highly probable ‘island of stability’ at or near element 120 or perhaps 126,” where elements might be found to exist list enough to study their chemistry.

International guidelines for choosing a name say that new elements “can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist,” according to the IUPAC.

In 2013, Swedish scientists confirmed the existence of the Russian-discovered ununpentium (atomic number 115). As the Two-Way described it, the element was produced by “shooting a beam of calcium, which has 20 protons, into a thin film of americium, which has 95 protons. For less than a second, the new element had 115 protons.”

While you’re not likely to run into the new elements anytime soon, they’re not the only ones with have short existences. Take, for instance, francium (atomic number 87) and astatine (atomic number 85).

As Sam Kean, author of a book about the periodic table called The Disappearing Spoon, wrote of those elements:

“If you had a million atoms of the longest-lived type of astatine, half of them would disintegrate in 400 minutes. A similar sample of francium would hang on for 20 minutes. Francium is so fragile, it’s basically useless.”

As for why scientists keep pursuing new and heavier elements, the answer, at least in part, is that they’re hoping to eventually find an element — or a series of elements — that are both stable and useful in practical applications. And along the way, they’re learning more and more about how atoms are held together.

Image: An artist’s illustration shows element 117, which has now been officially added to the periodic table of the elements.

Credit: Kwei-Yu Chu/LLNL

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Wild Ununquadium and Ununhexium appeared.

Researchers used IUPAC, it’s super effective; Wild elements were confirmed!

Such exciting news in the world of science with the confirmation of two new elements (114 and 116) in a no doubt intense review process between IUPAC and IUPAP.

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However you wont be saying hello to these new elements anytime soon as they only exist for fleeting moments and are only born of collisions between other atoms (such as calcium, plutonium and curium), smashing around in labs and hidden behind thick doors.

It is important to note that these elements were not just found in some happy turn of fate. Years ago when the periodic table was being formed and tweaked these elements were proposed to be able to exist, and as such many curious scientist have attempted to make it so.
While Ununquadium and Ununhexium aren’t exactly the most eloquent and majestic of names, never fear because they won’t last long. The labs that created the elements get the prestigious honour of naming them.

On a lighter note though many science enthusiasts the world over would be rather upset, as this means a trip to the shops to purchase a more up to date periodic table.

For the news articles or the IUPAC journal article follow these links:

International Year of Chemistry 2011

The International Year of Chemistry 2011 (IYC 2011) is a worldwide celebration of the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. Under the unifying theme “Chemistry—our life, our future,” IYC 2011 will offer a range of interactive, entertaining, and educational activities for all ages. The Year of Chemistry is intended to reach across the globe, with opportunities for public participation at the local, regional, and national level.

        –IYC 2011 

I’m at Dubai International Airport right now, 12.20 am Local time (4.20am Malaysia Time)!! It’s just the first transit and I’m halfway dead already!! 2 more to go!! I hope I can still stand up straight once I arrive at Puerto Rico Airport (> 24 hours later) :)

The above update is as promised! Stay tuned for more!! ♥ Thanks for all your support!

IUPAC, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Name new element 117 Octarine, in honour of Terry Pratchett's Discworld
This petition is to name element 117, recently confirmed by the International Union of Applied Chemistry, as 'Octarine', with the proposed symbol Oc (pronounced 'ook'), in honour of the late Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series of books.