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Element 113 spotted

By , 5 October 2012

Artist's impression of colliding nuclei.

Nuclei collide at high speeds to make new, superheavy elements.
Image: Mike McRae

A few months ago, Science by Email reported on the naming of two superheavy elements, flerovium and livermorium. Now a team from Japan has reported making a third atom of another, new superheavy element with an atomic number of 113.

The element was reportedly created by firing atoms of zinc at a metal, called bismuth. The researchers didn’t expect to make much of element 113. For every 100 quintillion (that’s 100 000 000 000 000 000 000!) atoms of zinc, they only predicted to make six or less atoms of element 113.

The results will now be given to a team of international experts in chemistry and physics. If the results are confirmed, it will be the first superheavy element discovered in East Asia and the Japanese team will also have the right to name the element.

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