The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been bashing together nuclei again, but this time they were after lighter isotopes of previously discovered heavy elements.
— The intrepid expedition towards the island of stability continues. Courtesy of Yuri Oganessian/Joint, Institute for Nuclear Research-Dubna
Many of the 20 strong team (who have published their results in the journal Physical Review Letters) were also involved in the confirmation of element 114 in September 2009, when the scientists made 286114 and 287114.
Traditionally element 114 has been viewed as an important goal for physicists because 298114 should be ‘doubly magic’, with both proton and neutron shells filled, but life’s never easy and other calculations suggest that the magic proton number should be 120 or 126 instead. The Berkley team have managed to make some heavier isotopes of 114 but it’s been hard work and the results haven’t been very stable. So instead of continually trying to add more neutrons to element 114 they decided to try and add less instead. (more…)