Superheavy Element 117 Confirmed – On the Way to the "Island of Stability"

New findings mark important step towards the capability to observe long-lived superheavy nuclei

Several atoms of the superheavy element with atomic number 117 have been created and observed by an international collaboration working at the GSI accelerator laboratory in Germany.

The measured decay properties match previous data, strengthening the case for official recognition of 117 as a new element. New findings obtained in the present work mark an important step towards the capability to observe still more long-lived superheavy nuclei, as expected to exist on the 'island of stability' of superheavy elements.

The periodic table of the elements is to get crowded towards its heaviest members. Evidence for the artificial creation of element 117 has recently been obtained at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darmstadt, Germany. The experiment was performed by an international team of chemists and physicists headed by Prof. Christoph Düllmann, who holds positions at GSI, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM). The team included 72 scientists and engineers from 16 institutions in Australia, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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J. Khuyagbaatar*, A. Yakushev, Ch. E. Düllmann, D. Ackermann, L.-L. Andersson, M. Asai, M. Block, R. A. Boll, H. Brand, D. M. Cox, M. Dasgupta, X. Derkx, A. Di Nitto, K. Eberhardt, J. Even, M. Evers, C. Fahlander, U. Forsberg, J. M. Gates, N. Gharibyan, P. Golubev, K. E. Gregorich, J. H. Hamilton, W. Hartmann, R.-D. Herzberg, F. P. Heßberger, D. J. Hinde, J. Hoffmann, R. Hollinger, A. Hübner, E. Jäger, B. Kindler, J. V. Kratz, J. Krier, N. Kurz, M. Laatiaoui, S. Lahiri, R. Lang, B. Lommel, M. Maiti, K. Miernik, S. Minami, A. Mistry, C. Mokry, H. Nitsche, J. P. Omtvedt, G. K. Pang, P. Papadakis, D. Renisch, J. Roberto, D. Rudolph, J. Runke, K. P. Rykaczewski, L. G. Sarmiento, M. Schädel, B. Schausten, A. Semchenkov, D. A. Shaughnessy, P. Steinegger, J. Steiner, E. E. Tereshatov, P. Thörle-Pospiech, K. Tinschert, T. Torres De Heidenreich, N. Trautmann, A. Türler, J. Uusitalo, D. E. Ward, M. Wegrzecki, N. Wiehl, S. M. Van Cleve, and V. Yakusheva
Study of the 48Ca + 249Bk Fusion Reaction Leading to Element Z=117: Long-Lived α-Decaying 270Db and Discovery of 266Lr
Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 172501 (2014)
Synopsis: Element Z=117 Confirmed

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