Will the Periodic Table Be Updated?

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High school chemistry students may soon have to memorize an additional element in the periodic table, although they may get a pass for now, since the new element hasn’t been named yet.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden say they have new evidence of a super-heavy element with atomic number 115.

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The element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms, reports the BBC.

The researchers describe the “fingerprint” of the new element in the scientific journal The Physical Review Letters. Although the element was first discovered by Russian scientists in 2004, evidence from the research team’s experiments confirms its existence, researchers said in a press release.

In order to measure photons in connection with the new element’s alpha decay, the researchers bombarded a thin film of the element americium with calcium ions. The results showed that specific energies of the photos agreed with the expected energies for X-ray radiation.

Dirk Rudolph, professor at the division of atomic physics at Lund University, Sweden, who led the research, told the BBC that the finding “goes beyond the standard measurement” that previous research had shown.

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Before it’s named, however, a committee of members of the international unions of pure and applied physics and chemistry will decide whether more experiments need to be done before official confirmation of the new element.

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