Ununseptium is the temporary name of the chemical element with temporary symbol Uus and atomic number 117. It is the latest element to have a claim of discovery, with six atoms having been detected by a joint Russia–US collaboration at Dubna, Moscow Oblast, Russia, in 2009–10. Although it is placed as the heaviest member of the halogen family, no experimental data are available to support properties similar to the lighter members like astatine or iodine.
The element with atomic number 117 is historically known as eka-astatine (see 'eka' terminology). The name ununseptium is a systematic element name, used as a placeholder until the discovery is acknowledged by the IUPAC, and the IUPAC decides on a name. Usually, the name suggested by the discoverer(s) is chosen.
According to current guidelines from IUPAC, the ultimate name for all new elements should end in "-ium", which means the name for ununseptium may end in -ium, not -ine, even if ununseptium turns out to be a halogen.
A team of Russian and American scientists has discovered a new element that has long stood as a missing link among the heaviest bits of atomic matter ever produced. The element, still nameless, appears to point the way toward a brew of still more massive elements with chemical properties no one can predict.
Element 117 was the only missing element in row seven of the periodic table. Element 117 was skipped due to the difficulty in obtaining the berkelium target material. Collaboration of Russian and U.S. scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, has created the superheavy element 117 that is about 40 percent heavier than lead. Elements 113, 114, 115, 116 and 118 — all discovered between 1998 and 2005. But there have not been any formal claims submitted to the International Union for 117. This discovery brings the total to six new elements discovered by the Dubna-Livermore team (113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118, the heaviest element to date).
April 08, 2010 The new element has a temporary name, “ununseptium”(one-one-seven in Latin). Five years of preparation, eight months collecting a few drops of precious radioactive material from a nuclear reactor in Tennessee, five trans-Atlantic flights, millions in research dollars and rubles, and six months of nearly 24-hour-a-day bombardment in a Russian particle accelerator had come to this: Element 117
The team produced six atoms of the element by smashing together isotopes of calcium (calcium-48) and a radioactive element called berkelium249 in a particle accelerator about 75 miles north of Moscow on the Volga River. Element 117 only hung around for fractions of a second before exploding into a shower of lighter particles and other elements. But by studying those leftovers, the researchers were able to confirm that the element did briefly exist. Therein lies the importance of this discovery; finding element 117 brings researchers closer to establishing that an island of stability exists at the top end of the periodic table. Though the element checked into and then out of this world very quickly, it actually hung around longer than many elements of lesser mass. So the discovery of ununseptium not only fills a key gap in the periodic chart, but it further confirms what physicists have suspected for quite a while now concerning the nature of super heavy elements.
Berkelium-249 only has a 320-day half-life, which put some constraints on the amount of material produced in the experiment. Only 6 atoms of element 117 were created.
For each atom, the team observed the alpha decay from element 117 to 115 to 113 and so on until the nucleus fissioned, splitting into two lighter elements. In total, 11 new “neutron-rich” isotopes were produced, bringing researchers closer to the presumed “island of stability” of superheavy elements.
Data collected by the team seem to support what theorists have long suspected: that as newly created elements become heavier and heavier they will eventually become much more stable and longer-lived than the fleeting bits of artificially produced matter seen so far.
If the trend continues toward a theorized “island of stability” at higher masses, said Dawn A. Shaughnessy, a chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California who is on the team, the work could generate an array of strange new materials with as yet unimagined scientific and practical uses.
By scientific custom, if the latest discovery is confirmed elsewhere, the element will receive an official name and take its place in the periodic table of the elements, the checkerboard that begins with hydrogen, helium and lithium and hangs on the walls of science classrooms and research labs the world over.
“For a chemist, it’s so fundamentally cool” to fill a square in that table, said Dr. Shaughnessy, who was much less forthcoming about what the element might eventually be called. A name based on a laboratory or someone involved in the find is considered one of the highest honors in science. Berkelium, for example, was first synthesized at the University of California, Berkeley.
“We’ve never discussed names because it’s sort of like bad karma,” she said. “It’s like talking about a no-hitter during the no-hitter. We’ve never spoken of it aloud.”
Other researchers were equally circumspect, even when invited to suggest a whimsical temporary moniker for the element. “Naming elements is a serious question, in fact,” said Yuri Oganessian, a nuclear physicist at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and the lead author on the paper. “This takes years.”
Copernicium, which contains 112 protons, was the last element to be named. It received its chemical symbol earlier this year, more than a decade after its initial discovery.
So, after all that... It looks like it will take quite some time before there is a formal name for this element, so now is your chance to propose one, at least on the cache page...
Let me know what you think they should call this in your cache log.
Check out this interactive Periodic Table.
Check out this Ununseptium video. Prepared by The University of Nottingham.