Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Four new atomic nuclei discovered

09.09.2015

An international team of researchers at GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung has succeeded in discovering four new atomic nuclei. The exotic nuclei are one isotope each of the elements berkelium and neptunium and two isotopes of the element americium. The scientists used a new, highly sensitive method to create and detect the nuclei.

For the experiment, the scientists shot at a 300-nanometer-thick foil of curium with accelerated calcium nuclei. In the collisions studied, the atomic nuclei of the two elements touched, and formed a compound system for an extremely short time.


Final preparations: the head of the experiment, Dr. Sophia Heinz, of GSI and Devaraja Malligenahalli, a student from the Manipal Centre for Natural Sciences, working on the experiment’s electronics.

Copyright: G. Otto, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

Before the compound system could break apart again, after about a sextillionth of a second, the two nuclei involved exchanged a number of their nuclear building-blocks — protons and neutrons. Different isotopes formed as the end products of this exchange.

The isotopes of berkelium, neptunium, and americium discovered in the GSI experiment were created as the end products of such collisions. They are unstable and decay after a few milliseconds or seconds, depending on the isotope. All of the resulting decay products can be separated and analyzed using special filters composed of electrical and magnetic fields. The scientists used all of the decay products detected to identify the new isotope that has been created.

Every chemical element comes in the form of different isotopes. These isotopes are distinguished from one another by the number of neutrons in the nucleus, and thus by their mass. The newly discovered isotopes have fewer neutrons and are lighter than the previously known isotopes of the respective elements.

Due to their low number of neutrons, their structure is very exotic and therefore interesting for the development of theoretical models describing atomic nuclei. To date, we know of around 3,000 isotopes of the 114 chemical elements of the periodic system. According to scientific estimates, more than 4,000 additional, undiscovered isotopes should also exist. The hunt for these unknown isotopes goes on at GSI. Atoms that are heavier than uranium are especially interesting in this hunt.

“By using this method, we have succeeded in generating many different atomic nuclei at once,” says Sophia Heinz, the head of the experiment. “Our results are especially important for the study of super-heavy elements. New isotopes, in particular those of super-heavy elements, which contain an especially large number of neutrons, cannot be made by any other method. Experiments aimed at creating these neutron-rich nuclei are already being prepared.”

The current experiments will make it possible to explore previously unknown areas on the isotope chart. The elements 107 to 112 were discovered using the same experimental facility at GSI. The mechanisms responsible for the production of new isotopes will also be studied at the planned accelerator center FAIR in the future.

By the discovery of the four new isotopes, on the ranking list GSI moves closer to the laboratory which discovered the most isotopes. Head of the ranking list at the moment is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA. GSI is on the second place.

The experiment at the GSI accelerator facility was carried out by an international team of researchers. Participants included the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, scientists from the Manipal Centre for Natural Sciences in India, the Justus Liebig University Giessen, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the USA, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.gsi.de/en/start/news/detailseite/2015/08/31/four-new-atomic-nuclei-d...

Dr. Ingo Peter | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>