What is the 113th element

Chemical element 113 officially confirmed

Wako - After more than a decade of strenuous research, Japanese researchers can now reap the rewards of their efforts: The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has officially recognized that Kosuke Morita's team from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science (RNC ) discovered element 113.

Super-heavy elements like this one are extremely unstable. They have to be artificially produced by bombarding the atomic nuclei of lighter elements with other particles and melting them into a new type of nucleus, which, however, disintegrates again almost immediately. The isotopes of element 113 produced by the Japanese researchers lasted less than a thousandth of a second. However, with such attempts, researchers hope to encounter a hitherto unknown "island of stability" that includes superheavy elements with longer half-lives.

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The RIKEN researchers have reported the generation of element 113 several times in the past few years - but only now has IUPAC recognized that the observed chains of decay can in fact be traced back to the new element without any doubt.

The production of element 113 had also already been reported from the Russian nuclear research center in Dubna. With the IUPAC decision, however, it is now up to Morita's team to find a name for the element, which so far has only been given the provisional designation "Ununtrium" (for 113). It will take its place between Copernicium (112) and Flerovium (114) and is officially the first element discovered in Asia. (red, January 5, 2016)