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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

New element is 40 percent heavier than lead

•, By Lakshmi Sandhana
 Made up of 117 protons, the element matches some of the heaviest atoms ever observed and is around 40 percent heavier than a single atom of lead.

Scientists have been aware of the existence of element 117 for some time, since its discovery by a group of Russian researchers in 2010. However it wasn't officially recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), an organization responsible for defining the periodic table, as they require the creation of a new element to be independently verified.

A multinational group of researchers led by scientists at Germany's GSI lab have now managed to create four atoms of 117 and independently confirm its existence, before it disappeared in a tenth of a second.

"Making element 117 is at the absolute boundary of what is possible right now," says Professor David Hinde, Director of the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility, ANU Nuclear Physics Department, Australia, who collaborated on the research. "That’s why it’s a triumph to create and identify even a few of these atoms."

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