DARMSTADT, Germany, Aug. 28, 2013 — Fresh evidence has been provided for the existence of a new, yet-to-be-named superheavy chemical element by measuring photons in connection with its decay.
The experiment was conducted at the GSI research facility in Germany by an international team of researchers led by physicists from Lund University in Sweden. They bombarded a thin film of americium with calcium ions to create a new element with an atomic number of 115. Certain photon energies they measured in relation to its alpha decay agreed with the expected energies for x-ray radiation, which is a “fingerprint” of a given element. The results confirm earlier experiments performed by Russian research groups.
“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years,” said Lund professor of atomic physics Dirk Rudolph.
This experiment also provided researchers access to data that gives them a deeper insight into the structure and properties of superheavy atomic nuclei.
A committee comprising members of the International Unions of Pure and Applied Physics and Chemistry will review the findings and decide whether further experimentation is necessary before the discovery of the new element is acknowledged.
For more information, visit: www.lunduniversity.lu.se