Monday, April 28, 2008

Possible transuranic element discovered!

Big, BIG news in the fancy chemistry biz today, via Slashdot we have this paper which claims discovery of a new stable element up in the atomic number 120, 122 range. Slightly less sciency is the blog here.

From the paper:
In summary, mass spectral evidence has been obtained for the existence of a long-lived
superheavy isotope with an atomic mass number of 292 and t1/2 ³108 y. Based on predicted
chemical properties of element 122, it is probable that the isotope is 292122, but a somewhat
higher Z cannot absolutely be excluded. Because of its long lifetime, it is deduced that a longlived
isomeric state rather than the normal g.s. was observed at A=292. The hypothesis that it
is a high spin SD or HD isomeric state is discussed.
They found the new material in samples of naturally occurring thorium (Th90), and estimate its half life in the 100 million year (10^8) range. The usual half life of elements higher up the periodic table than plutonium is measured in nanoseconds. Meaning this stuff sticks around long enough for us to be able to do things with it.
This is confirmation of a long held but unproved theory, that there are stable super-heavy nuclear states waaaay up the periodic table from the stuff we make in atom smashers. Awesome.

The Superheavy Phantom


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The Phantom said...

No trolls allowed.