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 First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>