Culminating a decade-long journey to expand the periodic table, an international team of scientists from Russia and the U.S. – including two Department of Energy national labs and two universities – has discovered the newest superheavy element; element 117.
The experiment produced six atoms of the element. Element 117 was the only missing element in row seven of the periodic table.
Physicists say the discovery of new elements expand our understanding of the universe and provide important tests of nuclear theories. Lawrence Livermore National Lab director George Miller calls it a significant breakthrough for science that will provide new insight into the makeup of the universe. He calls it a “testimony to the strength of science and technology at the partner institutions.
Since 1940, 26 new elements beyond uranium have been added to the periodic table.