While misery loves company, this does not mean that all of the elements in the periodic table are one morose and depressed bunch. No sir, in fact, a brand new super-heavy element that has been called element 117 will soon join the rest of the cast in the periodic table. Element 117 was discovered by a team of international researchers in the GSI Laboratory in Germany, and it must be said that element 117 is not a natural one as it was created through scientific manipulation.
Basically, the scientists have successfully forced the lighter atoms’ nuclei to fuse together until the time when atoms sport the perfect number of protons. For instance, Berkelium (atomic number 97) was fired with a slew of Calcium ions at a massive speed, which led to a fusion of the calcium atoms and Berkelium, hence resulting in the birth of element 117. Element 117, however, will exist for a mere fraction of a second before it decays.
In a nutshell, the slew of elements beyond atomic number 104 are non-existant in nature, and will need to be specially created in a laboratory. Appearing in the Periodic Table of Elements will only happen after it picks up the nod of approval by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
“Making element 117 is at the absolute boundary of what is possible right now”, affirmed Australian National University (ANU) Professor David Hinde, one of the researchers involved in the study. Four actual atoms in the element have been confirmed and are considered to be sufficient to get green signal from the IUPAC to be accepted.
As mentioned above, element 117 is quite a heavy element that is about 40% heavier than lead. The experiment was successful in confirming the presence of the new element but researchers said the success rate of these types of experiments is generally quite less.