Does the Periodic Table have an end

Does the Periodic Table have an end in sight?

Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the periodic table of elements, also known as the Periodic Table of Elements. Despite its age, the system continues to grow. Four new superheavy elements were added in 2016. Scientists are now wondering if the array will extend indefinitely?

The answer to this question is sought by prof. Witek Nazarewicz of Michigan State University. Swoj article published in the journal "Nature Physics Perspective".

The periodic table was created by Dmitry Mendeleev 149 years ago. Due to the upcoming anniversary, 2019 has been recognized by the UN as the Year of the Periodic Table of Elementsow.

The periodic table continues to lengthen. In 2016, four new elements were added: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson, with atomic numbers of 113, 115, 117 AND 118, respectively. To confirm the existence of these elementsow, the researchers worked for nearly a decade.

All elements having more than 104 protons are called "superheavy". They are still quite a mystery to science, because created in the laboratory they exist for only fractions of a second, after which they disintegrate, in other words, they are very unstable.

For those heavier than oganesson, the decay can be so fast that it makes it impossible to attract and capture an electron to form an atom. They remain collections of protonow and neutronow. If this was indeed the case, it would undermine the sposob, in what wspoModern scientists define and understand "atoms". They could no longer be described as a central nucleus with electrons circulating around theoł it, just as planets orbit around theoł Sun.

Whether such nuclei can indeed occur? It is not known, but such a possibility, however, cannot be ruled out. Perhaps somewhere in the Universe, deep in the nuclei of stars.

Scientists from many countriesoin slowly, but they move forward synthesizing new elements. They are currently working on synthesizing an element with 119 protons. It will be a unique discovery, because the Periodic Table will have to be enriched with a new, osmy period. This work is ongoing in several laboratories, mainlyoat the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia, the GSI in Germany and RIKEN in Japan.

– Theory is unable to reliably predict the optimal conditions of theoin needed for their synthesis, so we have to guess and do experiments until we find something. This, of course, could take years – admitted Nazarevich. But the scientist believes the discovery will happen in the next few years. Researchers already even have names for the elementow osmego period, ktore just trying to synthesize. These are, for example. ununennium (119), unbinilium (120), or unbibium (122).

According to some researchers, superheavy elements can be formed in the nuclei of exploding neutron stars or during stellar collisions. In such extreme environments, the nucleus can combine with more and more neutrons to form a heavier isotope. It would have the same number of protonsow, and would therefore be the same element, but heavier.

Scientists still know very little about superheavy elements. Most massive nuclear nuclei disintegrate in a fraction of a second. However, there is the concept of the so-called. "islands of stability", ktora mosees that someore superheavy elements may have isotopes with increased durability. This would mean that the atomic nuclei of such particles would not decay almost immediately after the formation of the. The time of their decay mohead would be of the order of minutes, months or years. TwoThe author of this hypothesis is Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Glenn Seaborg.

As the work progresses, researchers will prob to synthesize superheavy elements. At present, they can only wonder what these exotic elements will look like. – We don’t know much about it, and that’s the challenge. However, what we have learned could spell the end of the periodic table as we know it – Nazarevich noted.