Existence of 117th element “Ununseptium (Uus)” confirmed
The existence of element 117- “Ununseptium (Uus)” has been confirmed by the scientists at the GSI accelerator laboratory in Germany, including those from India, who have created atoms of the element. This confirmation succeeds the original discovery, made in 2010 by a joint US—Russian team. The atoms were similar to the heaviest atoms ever observed, 40% heavier than an atom of lead. The discovery marks a significant advancement towards the capability to observe still more long-lived super-heavy nuclei, as expected to exist on the ‘Island of Stability’ of super-heavy elements.
- Chemical Symbol: Uus
- Atomic number: 117
- CAS ID: 87658-56-8
- Chemical series: Period 7 element, Halogen
Super-heavy elements: Elements with atomic number greater than 104 are referred to as Super-Heavy Elements. Although super-heavy elements have not been found in nature, they can be created by accelerating beams of nuclei and shooting them at the heaviest possible target nuclei. Fusion of two nuclei – a very uncommon event – at times produces a super-heavy element. Those currently accessible generally only exist for a short time.
‘Island of Stability’: A theoretical concept of Nuclear Physics first propounded by Glenn T. Seaborg in the late 1960s. As per this theory, the island of stability is a set of as-yet undiscovered heavier isotopes of transuranium elements which are supposed to be much more stable than some of those closer in atomic number to uranium. Specifically, they are expected to have radioactive decay half-lives of minutes or days, with some researchers expecting half-lives of millions of years.
Utility of this Experiment and discovery: The successful experiments on element 117 are an important step on the path to the production and detection of elements situated on the ‘island of stability’ of super-heavy elements.
Month: Current Affairs - May, 2014