The periodic table of elements.

The periodic table of elements. Ununseptium is now no longer ‘unknown’.

A new element was confirmed to exist by researchers at the GSI Helmhotz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Damstadt, Germany. Element 117, which is a heavy metal with atomic number 117, was first detected by scientists in April 2010 at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Dubna, Russia. To confirm its existence, scientists have tried to repeat the findings, which has at long last come to fruition. It is the culmination of efforts of physicists worldwide trying to fill the gaps in the periodic table of elements.

The element was created by colliding calcium-48 atoms at high energy into a target of berkelium-249, supplied by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Roane County, Tennessee, USA. In addition, a hitherto unknown isotope of the heavy metal lawrencium was also detected: lawrencium-266.

“Ununseptium” is the temporary working name for the element, and now that proof of its existence has been established, it is expected to be given an official name by the International Unions of Pure and Applied Physics and Chemistry and given a permanent home on the periodic table.

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