Ununbium: New 112th Element Added to Periodic Table
Ununbium, element 112, has recently been added to the periodic table, thanks to the efforts of Sigurd Hofmann at the Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. The "super-heavy" element took over a decade to be formally recognized, due to its unstable nature.
Super-heavy elements are categorized as such for the vast number of protons and neutrons contributing to their high masses. They are difficult to isolate and identify due to their extremely high rates of decay; unumbium decays within several milliseconds of being formed.
Scientists measure energy released from the decaying element to discover the size of its nucleus.
To create element 112, Professor Hofmann's team used a 120m-long particle accelerator to fire a beam of charged zinc atoms (or zinc ions) at lead atoms. Nuclei of the two elements merged, or fused, to form the nucleus of the new element.
Only four atoms of ununbium have been observed in the world. Hoffman's team previously revealed elements 107 to 111, and are responsible for finding an official name for ununbium.
Ununbium is not the element's official name; the temporary moniker was given by IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) and comes from "ununbi", or "one one two" in Latin.