For the first time since 2011, four new elements have been added to the periodic table, which have completed the table’s seventh row. Scientists in America, Russia and Japan have discovered the man-made super-heavy chemical elements.
On December 30, the US-based International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the global organisation that governs chemical nomenclature, terminology and measurement, verified the four elements. They were developed by the Russian-American team of scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
The IUPAC said that the research team behind the elements has provided them with evidence to claim the existence of the four elements, which are 115, 117, and 118. Element 113 has also been discovered by a team of Russian and American scientists from the Riken Institute, Japan.
The man-made elements have been discovered by combining lighter nuclei with another and the following the successive decay of the radioactive super-heavy elements. The new elements like other super-heavy elements exist for a fraction of a second before they decay into other elements.
“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row”, affirmed Professor Jan Reedijk, president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC. He affirmed that the elements will be given official names by their discovered teams in the coming months. Out of all, element 113 is the first one to be named in Asia.
IUPAC said that it has started the official work of naming the elements and giving them symbols that will replace their temporary nomenclature- ununtrium(Uut or element 113), ununpentium(Uup, element 115), ununseptium(Uus, element 117), and ununoctium(Uuo, element 118). The new names are most probably to be named after a mineral, a country or place, a mythological creature, a scientist, or a property.
According to a report from the QZ, although the four new elements are credited as having been “discovered,” on Earth they had to be created because the conditions under which these elements exist are extreme. To do this, scientists slam already existing elements into each other at near speeds of light, and end up with a handful of atoms of a new element that exist for only fractions of a second. In fact, all elements from 95 to 118 are synthetic elements that once formed quickly decay into simpler elements.
The elements have been worked on since at least 2004, when studies began showing the discovery and priority of element 113. But they have all now satisfied the strict tests to be admitted to the periodic table. Ryoji Noyori — the former president of Riken, the Japanese institute that helped discover element 113 — said that for scientists to have the achievement recognised “is of greater value than an Olympic gold medal”, told the Independent.
The Huffington Post notes that, The inclusion of the super-heavy man-made chemical elements temporarily named 113, 115, 117 and 118 are the first additions to the table since 2011, according to a statement from IUPAC.
"To scientists, this is of greater value than an Olympic gold medal," Ryoji Noyori, Nobel laureate in chemistry, told the Guardian.
"The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row," added professor Jan Reedijk, president of IUPAC's inorganic chemistry division.