50 years GSI

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FAIR

The new accelerator facility FAIR is under construction at GSI. Learn more.

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Discovery of new elements

In experiments at the GSI accelerator facility scientists succeeded in finding the elements 107 to 112.

Chemical elements are produced in stars and stellar explosions. They are the fabric that forms all the matter around us – even in our bodies. Several elements occur in space even though they can't be found on earth.

The scientists at GSI try to produce new and so far unknown elements in the laboratory. The ones discovered so far are unstable and mostly decay after a short time. However, theoretical calculations predict a so called island of stability. It denominates elements that might have very long lifetimes. To find this island of stability is a goal of the scientists.

Besides the discovery of the elements 107 to 112 GSI also succeeded in the production of the elements 113 to 117 and thus verified data from Russian discoveries.

Background

Production and detection

Periodic table of the elements

Element names from geography

Experimental setups at GSI

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GSI scientists discovered six new elements.
Abbildung: GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

Elements made at GSI

Atomic Number

Name (Symbol)

Origin of name

Date of Discovery**

Date of offical recognition*

Discovering laboratory

107

Bohrium (Bh)

Niels Bohr, Danish physicist, Nobel prize winner 1922, development of the Bohr atomic model

February 24, 1981

December 1997

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

108

Hassium (Hs)

German State of Hesse, location of GSI

March 14, 1984

December 1997

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

109

Meitnerium (Mt)

Lise Meitner, Austrian physicist, theoretical description of nuclear fission

August 29, 1982

December 1997

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

110

Darmstadtium (Ds)

Darmstadt, location of GSI

November 9, 1994

August 2003

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

111

Roentgenium (Rg)

Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, German physicist, Nobel prize winner 1901, discovery of the x-rays

December 8, 1994

November 2004

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

112

Copernicium (Cn)

Nikolaus Kopernikus, astronomer of the 15/16 century, theoretical description of the heliocentric system

February 9, 1996

February 2010

GSI, Darmstadt, Germany

Elements 113 – 118

Announcing the finding of an element is not enough for an institute to get official recognition of the element.

Atoms of the new element are not directly observed, but scientists measure their decay chains. Other accelerator facilities, apart from GSI for example in Russia, Japan and the USA, try to produce atoms of the new element as well. They check whether their decay chains match the previously observed ones. If they succeed IUPAC will after a thorough audit officially recognize the discovery.

Atomic number

Name (Symbol)

Origin of name

Date of discovery***

Date of official recognition*

Date of production at GSI

Discovering laboratory

113

Nihonium (Nh)

Nihon is one of the two ways to say “Japan” in Japanese, and means “the Land of Rising Sun”

February 2004

November 2016

November 7, 2012

RIKEN, Wako, Japan

114

Flerovium (Fl)

Georgy Nikolayevich Flyorov (Flerov), Russian physicist, discoverer of spontaneous nuclear fission

July 1999

June 2011

June 2, 2009

JINR, Dubna, Russia

115

Moscovium (Mc)

In recognition of the Moscow region which is the home of JINR

February 2004

November 2016

November 7, 2012

JINR, Dubna, Russia

116

Livermorium (Lv)

Named after the US laboratory LLNL in Livermore which participated in the discovery

January 2001

June 2011

July 2, 2010

JINR, Dubna, Russia

117

Tennessine (Ts)

In recognition of the Tennessee region, as laboratories and universities from there participated in the discovery

April 2010

November 2016

September 28, 2012

JINR, Dubna, Russia

118

Oganesson (Og)

Yuri Oganessian, Russian physicst and discoverer of elements

October 2006

November 2016

--

JINR, Dubna, Russia

(Status: December 2016)

* specified is the date of official recognition of the name by IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry). The procedure for recognition has several stages: 1) A workgroup of IUPAC and IUPAP (International Union of Pure and Applied Physics) recognizes the existence of the element (verification) and asks the discovering scientists to propose a name. 2) The discovering scientists propose a name. 3) IUPAC publishes the name for five month to be debated in public. 4) Under consideration of the results IUPAC decides for a name, if necessary with modifications to the original proposal of the scientists.

** specified is the date of the first experimental proof (recognized by IUPAC) of the element.

*** specified is the date of the first publication in a scientific journal.