New Elements Created in Livermore Lab

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A team of scientists from UC-run Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a Russian lab announced the creation of two new "superheavy" elements yesterday.

With 113 and 115 protons each, the elements fill in gaps in the outer reaches of the periodic table where elements of enormous mass are called "superheavies."

The team published their results in a prominent chemistry journal, Physical Review C, yesterday.

For more than a month they collided americium and calcium atoms together, waiting for them to fuse and form a new element.

The scientists reported that for a fraction of a second, an element with 115 protons was created before quickly decaying into element 113 and then decaying once more into recognizable elements.

The researchers are mapping out what they call an "island of stability" on the farther end of the periodic table, where heavier elements exist for unusually long amounts of time and carry new chemical properties.

The two elements will tentatively be called Ununtrium and Ununpentium until other labs verify their existence.

Scientists from competing labs will likely take a harsher look at the discovery after a scientist from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was found to have falsified data in the reported discovery of element 118.


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