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Tennessine is among the names proposed for four new elements. If approved, the name would recognize the contributions of Tennessee research centers—Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee—in the discovery of one of four new superheavy elements: 113, 115, 117, and 118.
Tennessine (Ts) is proposed for element 117.
The discovery of the four new elements was announced in January, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory played a role in discovering two of them. The elements have been added to the periodic table, filling the seventh row, or period.
Twenty-two milligrams of a very pure synthetic material produced at ORNL were used in the discovery of two of the new chemical elements.
The Inorganic Chemistry Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, or IUPAC, made the provisional recommendations for the names and symbols for the new elements. ORNL shared the news of the provisional recommendations in a press release on Wednesday.
The provisional names for 115, 117, and 118 will now undergo a statutory period for public review before the names and symbols can be finally approved by the IUPAC Council, the ORNL press release said.
The names were originally proposed by the discovering team from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California; and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Tennessine (Ts) name and symbol would recognize the contributions of the Tennessee research centers to superheavy element research, including the production and chemical separation of unique actinide target materials at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor and Radiochemical Engineering Development Center. Actinide materials from ORNL have contributed to the discovery and/or confirmation of nine superheavy elements, a press release said.
“These experiments and discoveries essentially open new frontiers of chemistry,” said ORNL’s Science and Technology Partnerships Director Jim Roberto.
Professor Yuri Oganessian from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, and scientific leader of the team, noted the importance of international collaboration in discovering new elements and nuclei, completing the seventh row of the periodic table, and providing evidence for the long sought “island of stability” for superheavy elements. Two members of the team, JINR and LLNL, were previously credited with the discovery of elements 114 (flerovium) and 116 (livermorium).
These new elements were discovered using the “hot fusion” approach, developed and implemented by Oganessian at JINR, the press release said. This approach involves heavy ion reactions of an intense, high-energy calcium beam on rare actinide targets, including berkelium and californium at the Dubna Gas-Filled Recoil Separator.
The concept of the “island of stability” was originally proposed in the 1960s. It predicts increased stability for superheavy nuclei at higher neutron and proton numbers. The new nuclei produced in this research exhibit substantially increased lifetimes consistent with approaching the island.
Moscovium (Mc) is provisionally recommended for element 115 in recognition of the Moscow region and honoring the ancient Russian land that is home to JINR. Moscow is the capital of the region, and Moscow and its people have been very supportive of JINR and superheavy element research.
The provisional name for element 118 is Oganesson (Og) in recognition of the pioneering contributions of Yuri Oganessian to superheavy element research. It was the vision and determination of Oganessian that created this opportunity for the significant expansion of the periodic table and our knowledge of superheavy nuclei, the press release said.
IUPAC also has published a provisional recommendation for element 113. The discoverers at RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan proposed the name nihonium (Nh). Nihon is one of the two ways to say “Japan” in Japanese, and translates as “the Land of Rising Sun.”
The ORNL research is supported by DOE’s Office of Science, and the isotopes for the experimental targets are provided by the Office of Science-managed DOE Isotope Program.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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