Theoretical studies almost 50 years ago predicted an island of stability around the atomic numbers 114, 120 or 126. They initiated a worldwide race to produce super heavy elements that lead to initial reports of element 114 from Dubna, Russia and Berkeley, USA.
Now, an international team of scientists at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) have confirmed these reports with observation of 13 atoms of element 114, corresponding to the highest measured production rate.
The atoms were produced by using the GSI particle accelerator to fire a stream of calcium ions onto a plutonium-coated titanium foil. Lead by Christoph Düllmann, the team then observed element 114 using a Trans Actinide Separator and Chemistry Apparatus (TASCA), a gas-filled recoil separator that is highly selective, and a semiconductor-based detector.
The team hopes that this new setup will advance experiments to possibly discover new elements beyond element 118.
- Production and Decay of Element 114: High Cross Sections and the New Nucleus 277Hs
C. E. Düllmann, M. Schaedel, A. Yakushev, A. Tuerler, K. Eberhardt, et al.,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 2010, 104, 252701.