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Chemical element number 114: one of the heaviest elements prepared

A team of scientists from the German research institute GSI managed to observe the chemical element number 114, one of the heaviest elements created to date. The preparation of this element is complex and extremely difficult and requires the use of an advanced particle accelerator. To date, this operation has been crowned with success in only two other research centers, one in the USA and the other in Russia.

the experimental team
the experimental team
In the research carried out at this German institute, the scientists used an innovative system (Trans Actinide Separator and Chemistry Apparatus) that was developed in recent years and was designed to provide information on even heavier elements and even discover elements beyond element 118.

With the help of the special equipment, the research team, led by the researcher Christoph Düllman, was able to observe thirteen atoms of the element 114 during a long experimental period that lasted for four consecutive weeks. Despite the small number of atoms obtained, the findings demonstrate the highest production rate ever achieved for element 114. This finding opens a window for in-depth chemical, atomic, and physical research in the near future. Based on the radiation emitted during the element's decay, the researchers were able to identify two different isotopes of element 114 with mass numbers 288 and 289. The half-life of both isotopes is on the order of one second.

"The special instrument (TASCA) we used is currently the most effective system for identifying super-heavy elements created in particle accelerators. This high efficiency is the key to future experiments. In addition, we will be able to perform a chemical analysis of super-heavy elements close to element 114, in order to determine their exact position in the periodic table of the elements," adds the lead researcher.

Using GSI's 120-meter-long particle accelerator, the researchers accelerated electrically charged calcium atoms (calcium ions) toward plutonium-coated aluminum foil. During the experiment, the plutonium and calcium nuclei undergo fusion to form a fused nucleus of the new element. The atomic number of the element - the number of protons in the atomic nucleus - is 114 and therefore its initial name is element 114. The atomic number corresponds to the sum of the reacting elements: calcium with 20 protons and plutonium with 94.
The separating part of the device, filled with gas, separates the atoms created by the accelerator at a high level of selectivity from the rest of the reaction products. In the next step, the atoms of element 114 are inserted into a special semiconductor detector where they are identified based on the radiation emitted from them during their decay.

Initial reports on the observation of element 114 were published about ten years ago by the Russian Research Center in Dubna. However, the relevant council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has not yet officially recognized their discovery. Almost at the same time, two atoms of element 114 were also observed at the research center at the University of Berkeley, USA. Recently, the union officially recognized element 112, produced at the same institute (GSI), as the heaviest element discovered so far. Russian reports of the preparation of elements with atomic numbers up to 118 have not yet been confirmed.

The news from the research institute

2 תגובות

  1. Hello A. Ben Ner:
    1) The appropriate field for this research is basic physics and its applications are nuclear physics, medical radiology and the like. Apart from that - every discovery of additional scientific knowledge improves our understanding of the world around us.
    2) In the field of heavy elements there is the concept of an "island of stability" which are relatively stable isotopes with very specific atomic arrangements. For more information about this, see the three news items related to this issue.

  2. To Dr. Moshe Nachmani
    I have two questions for you.
    A]. Perhaps you could please point to applied and / or research applications of the discovery of this?
    B]. Theoretically, is it possible that elements heavier than 114 will be more stable?
    I will thank for your reply.

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