Japan created a new element
With 113 protons in its nucleus, element 113 was long sought after by the scientific community. Now, Japanese researchers have finally created it. The problem is, it quickly decayed, but they were able to record proof of its existence. If confirmed, this will be Japan’s first instance of naming rights for the Periodic Table of Elements, previously limited to researchers in the U.S., Germany and Russia.
“For over nine years, we have been searching for data conclusively identifying element 113, and now that at last we have it, it feels like a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders,” said lead researcher Kosuke Morita in statement.
According to LiveScience, “To synthesize element 113, Morita and his team collided zinc nuclei (with 30 protons each) into a thin layer of bismuth (which contains 83 protons).” When 113 was created, “it quickly decayed by shedding alpha particles, which consist of two protons and two neutrons each,” doing so “six times, turning element 113 into element 111, then 109, 107, 105, 103 and finally, element 101, Mendelevium (also a synthetic element).”
“I would like to thank all the researchers and staff involved in this momentous result, who persevered with the belief that one day 113 would be ours,” Morita said. “For our next challenge, we look to the uncharted territory of element 119 and beyond.”
So, not exactly the final frontier—but still pretty cool.