New Element ‘Ununpentium’ Could Claim 115th Spot On Periodic Table: What Exactly Is The ‘Super-Heavy’ Contender?

By Philip Ross on August 28, 2013 5:26 PM EDT

new element
The periodic table of elements may have to make room for a 115th member after Swedish scientists created ununpentium, a new element with 115 protons. (Photo: Flickr/euthman)

A new element called ununpentium could land a spot on the periodic table of elements as its 115th member. According to The Verge, scientists in Sweden have confirmed the existence of ununpentium, gaining the attention of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, or IUPAC, the global authority on element nomenclature.  

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According to CBS News, Swedish scientists at Lund University created the new element ununpentium, which has 115 protons, by firing a beam of calcium into a piece of americium. The result was ununpentium, a "super-heavy" element that is 289 times heavier than hydrogen. The element existed for just one second, but scientists were able to create about 30 of them. From Lund University:

By bombarding a thin film of americium with calcium ions, the research team was able to measure photons in connection with the new element's alpha decay. Certain energies of the photons agreed with the expected energies for X-ray radiation, which is a 'fingerprint' of a given element.

"This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years", said Dirk Rudolph, Professor at the Division of Nuclear Physics at Lund University.

The new element ununpentium isn't really new, per se. A team of Russian and American scientists actually identified the element back in 2004, but the IUPAC rejected the discovery because it didn't meet the criteria.

"The new research at Lund University, however, corroborates the measurements made by the Russian research team in 2004," Forbes notes. "This provides a strong indication that both teams successfully synthesized the new element in the lab."

The IUPAC will now have to review the Swedish scientists' discovery and decide whether or not there's enough evidence to warrant a much-coveted spot on the acclaimed periodic table of elements.

Read more from iScience Times:

Carbyne Beats Graphene As World's Strongest Material: What Can The 'Super' Substance Do For Engineering?

Scientists Create Elusive Element 113

Trace Element Plays Major Role in Tropical Forest Nitrogen Cycle

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