Scientists just can’t get enough elements. As if more than 100 of them weren’t enough, researchers in Russia and Germany have managed to obtain enough data to prove the existence of element 115.
Evidence of it was first discovered in 2004 in the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Russia. The results were not enough to prove its existence. But recently researchers in Germany managed to create enough of this element to track its radioactive fingerprint that identifies it as a unique new element. The results will be published the 27th of August in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
The decision of its authenticity is not yet final: both the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) and the IUPAP ((International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) have to approve it, but most scientists already accept it. However, until it is officially added to the Periodic Table, this element will be named Ununpentium (Uup). It remains unkown what name the discoverer of the element (Sergie Dmitriev from Russia) will choose.
How was Ununpentium synthesised?
Scientists blasted calcium ions (20 protons) to a piece of americium (95 protons), therefore creating element 115. But this element decays very quickly, so to see if it was indeed created, they had to measure the photons released. The energy produced by these matched the radioactive value they expected from the new element, therefore proving its existence.
Element 115 is quite a famous element, all things considered. It has been mentioned in videogames such as Lara Croft and Call of Duty as a weapon maker and teletransporter, and some people believe it’s the element used in UFOs to create gravitational rays.
In real life though, chemists don’t expect this element to be very practical, due to its short half life.
Hopefully, in a few months’ time, we will see the Periodic Table with a newly named element, to spice things up a bit.