Names for the new elements 113, 115, 117 and 118

Organization, 08 June 2016

Press Release of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research

As it has been reported, on the results of the joint work of the committee of the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Physics (IUPAP) the discovery of new chemical elements of the D.Mendeleev Periodic Table with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118 was confirmed.

The priority in the discovery is acknowledged:

Element 113 ― RIKEN Collaboration (Japan);

Elements 115 and 117 ― Collaboration of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR, Dubna, Russia), the Livermore national Laboratory (LLNL, the USA) and the Oakridge national Laboratory (ORNL, the USA);

Element 118 ― Collaboration of JINR (Dubna, Russia) and LLNL (USA).

The Synthesis of elements 115, 117 and 118 was conducted in Dubna at JINR, at the accelerator complex U-400 of the G.Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in the reactions of accelerated Са-48 ions with actinide targets (americium-243 ― element 115, berkelium-249 ― element 117, californium-249 ― element 118).

In accordance with the IUPAC regulations, the authors of the discoveries proposed names for the new elements.

In the official press release of 08.06.2016, IUPAC introduced their definition on the proposed names, as follows:

The discoverers have been invited to propose names and the following are now disclosed for public review:

  • Nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element 113,
  • Moscovium and symbol Mc, for the element 115,
  • Tennessine and symbol Ts, for the element 117, and
  • Oganesson and symbol Og, for the element 118.

The IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division has reviewed and considered these proposals and recommends these for acceptance. A five-month public review is now set, expiring 8 November 2016, prior to the formal approval by the IUPAC Council.

The guidelines for the naming the elements were recently revised and shared with the discoverers to assist in their proposals. Keeping with tradition, newly discovered elements can be named after: (a) a mythological concept or character (including an astronomical object), (b) a mineral or similar substance, (c) a place, or geographical region, (d) a property of the element, or (e) a scientist.

The names of all new elements in general would have an ending that reflects and maintains historical and chemical consistency. This would be in general “-ium” for elements belonging to groups 1-16, “-ine” for elements of group 17 and “-on” for elements of group 18. Finally, the names for new chemical elements in English should allow proper translation into other major languages.

For the element with atomic number 113 the discoverers at RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science (Japan) proposed the name nihonium and the symbol Nh. Nihon is one of the two ways to say “Japan” in Japanese, and literally mean “the Land of Rising Sun”.

For the element with atomic number 115 the name proposed is moscovium with the symbol Mc and for element with atomic number 117, the name proposed is tennessine with the symbol Ts. These are in line with tradition honoring a place or geographical region and are proposed jointly by the discoverers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna (Russia), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA), Vanderbilt University (USA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA).

Moscovium is named in recognition of the Moscow region and honors the ancient Russian land that is the home of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, where the discovery experiments were conducted using the Dubna Gas-Filled Recoil Separator in combination with the heavy ion accelerator capabilities of the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions.

Tennessine is in recognition of the contribution of the Tennessee region, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, to superheavy element research, including the production and chemical separation of unique actinide target materials for superheavy element synthesis at ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC).

For the element with atomic number 118 the collaborating teams of discoverers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna (Russia) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA) proposed the name oganesson and symbol Og. The proposal is in line with the tradition of honoring a scientist and recognizes Professor Yuri Oganessian for his pioneering contributions to transactinoid elements research. His many achievements include the discovery of superheavy elements and significant advances in the nuclear physics of superheavy nuclei including experimental evidence for the “island of stability”.

After the lapse of the public review, the final Recommendations will be published in the IUPAC journal Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Earlier, in 2011 IUPAC acknowledged the priority of the discovery of elements 114 nd 116 for the JINR-LLNL collaboration. The elements were named: element 114 ― Flerovium, Fl; element 116 Livermorium, Lv.

Flerovium was named in honour of the G.Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions JINR that is an acknowledged leader in the synthesis of superheavy elements, and in honour of its founder the outstanding physicist Academician G.N.Flerov (1913-1990) ― the author of the discovery of a new type of radioactivity of spontaneous fission of heavy nuclei, the founder of new scientific trends and the first director of LNR JINR that is named after him.

Livermorium was named in honour of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the place of its location the city Livermore (California, USA). Livermore scientists have been involved in the experiments on new elements’ synthesis in Dubna for over 20 years.

On the whole, the decision of IUPAC is the acknowledgement of the outstanding contribution of JINR scientists into the discovery of the ‘stability island’ of superheavy elements that is a most important achievement in modern nuclear physics.