Element 115 Exists

Element 115 Exists

Author: ChemistryViews

The existence of element 115, known temporarily as ununpentium, has been claimed by researchers at Sweden’s Lund University [1]. The element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms. This is being published in this week’s edition of Physical Review Letters.

For IUPAC, this important confirmation will become part of the review of the relevant literature pertaining to recent claims. Element 115 is not a new case for the IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party (JWP), which determines the priority of claims to the discovery of new elements [2]. About 10 years ago, groups of Russian and American researchers made claims that ununpentium had been synthesized.

The task of the JWP is very critical as it results in formally assigning discovery to a specific group. At that point, the naming process, also managed by IUPAC, can start [3]. The group that is ultimately recognized for having discovered a new element is invited to propose a name and symbol for that element. After examination by the IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division, the proposed name and symbol are revealed to the scientific community and the public and a public review period of five months is initiated. Ultimately, and if there are no counter indications, the name and symbol are formally approved by the IUPAC Council.

The process is lengthy, but ultimately the new element will take its place in the periodic table with a unique and recognizable symbol. Element 115 sits right between flerovium (114) and livermorium (116), which were added to the periodic table in 2012 [4, 5].


[1] Dirk Rudolph, Ulrika Forsberg, Existence of new element confirmed, Lund University 27 August 2013.

[2] Robert C. Barber, Paul J. Karol, Hiromichi Nakahara, Emanuele Vardaci, Erich W. Vogt, Discovery of the elements with atomic numbers greater than or equal to 113 (IUPAC Technical Report), Pure Appl. Chem. 2011, 83 (7), 1485–1498.

[3] W. H. Koppenol, Naming of new elements (IUPAC Recommendations 2002), Pure Appl. Chem. 2001, 74 (5), 787–791.

[4] Robert D. Loss John Corish, Names and symbols of the elements with atomic numbers 114 and 116 (IUPAC Recommendations 2012), Pure Appl. Chem. 2012, 84 (7), 1669–1672.

[5] Elements 114 And 116 Named, ChemistryViews.org 03 December 2011.
    (The IUPAC recommended new proposed names for the latest heavy elements to be added to the periodic table)

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