Chemistry Blog



Sep 24

Element 114 is Confirmed

by mitch | Categories: nuclear chemistry | (33204 Views)

I finally got the green light to talk about element 114 publicly now that our confirmation paper is finally out.[PRL] Element 114 was first claimed to be synthesized by the Russians earlier this decade, but in order for IUPAC to recognize a new element it must be independently confirmed. Making new elements is no easy feat, it takes a lot of dedicated time at cyclotrons to perform these experiments. Because cyclotron time is so precious, it is difficult to get approval to do an experiment that simply proves an other research group’s results. Two of the main reasons we ran this experiment and got approval was to test our new plutonium target box setup and :ahem: disprove the Russians made these elements, but that is not what we observed.

The Russians have a history of publishing their results internally and not submitting their results to peer review. This creates internal reports that have results that sometimes contradict each other. However, in 2007 Orgenessian et. al published a summary of their results in the peer-reviewed Journal of Physics G.[JPhysG] They claim to have seen the following.

In summary they saw two isotopes of element 114, 286114 that decayed to element 112 and 287114 that also decayed to element 112 and then sometimes spontaneously fissioned or mostly decayed to element 110 (darmstadtium). Our own data showed that…

If you make an isotope like 287114 and observe it decay to the known elements 112 and then to darmstadtium, there is little doubt it exists.

Congratulations all around. Hopefully they propose a better name for element 114 that is less divisive than Kurchatovium, the name they proposed for element 104 after the Soviet atomic bomb project leader.

Link to Confirmation Paper: Independent Verification of Element 114 Production in the 48Ca+242Pu Reaction

Press Release: Superheavy Element 114 Confirmed: A Stepping Stone to the Island of Stability


tl;dr Element 114 was made independently of the Russians and now they can name it.


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  1. Joel

    Whoa! Congratulations! It must be pretty awesome to have helped discover a freaking element.

    Actually, it’s pretty awesome to even just to say I sort of know of someone that helped discover an element!

    1. HighTek

      My claim to fame as well. Excellent work Mitch.

  2. psi*psi

    Dude, that’s pretty awesome. Congrats!

  3. Phil

    Congratulations, that’s really amazing!

  4. Bobby Baum

    The Russians actually reported the first evidence for 114 back in 1999 (Physical Review Letters 83 3154). It is still not clear what the first decay chain was (an EC branch of 114?).
    IUPAC does not require independent confirmation to accept the discovery of a new element. See element 110 for example.
    It’s Oganessian, not Organessian.
    The description of 112-283 should probably be a > 90% rather than a > 10%.
    The newly observed decay of 114-287 was obviously an “escape” where the detectors did not properly measure the decay energy.

  5. eric scerri

    Congratulations Mitch!

    I am interested in the question of whether 114 might be a liquid if enough of it is ever produced.

    This is based on the Knight’s Move Relationship which has been discussed in the literature by Michael laing, from Durban, South Africa.

    I have a 4-5 section on this in chapter 10 of my book,

    Eric Scerri, The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance, OUP, 2007.

    I would be interested in comments on the Knight’s Move Relationship from other other bloggers here. One of the best examples seems to be Zn and Sn which are related on the periodic table by a Knight’s move. The metals are rather similar in being non-poisonous by contrast to other members of groups 12 and 14 respectively. One uses Zn and Sn to coat steel cans after all.

    all the best,
    eric scerri

  6. dailychem

    Congratulations. It’s really cool for you to have contributed to this, that’s for sure.

  7. LiqC

    Wow. Congratulations.

    How do you get Ca-48? From the natural mixture or in some other way?

    1. mitch

      The usual idea is to concentrate it by some centrifugal way. I don’t think there is any facility in the US that still does this, we have to buy from the Russians.

  8. purva


    its really great that u hav discovered the element 114.its really a big the student of m-phil(inorganic special)and im also interested to work in the field of nuclear chemistry. kindly guide me for choosing the project for doing work.i shall be very thakful for this.once again CONGRATULATION

  9. Mehdi

    Important question for me! Do you see that the real total number of the chemical elements are just 114? I mean no more nor less than 114?

  1. De papa van Copernicium « Scheikundejongens

    […] er is namelijk nóg belangrijker nieuws te melden. Het bestaan van element 114 is namelijk bevestigd. Aangezien dit element (nog) niet erkend is door de IUPAC, heeft het nog de weinig spannende, […]

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