in your element Uuh? No. It’s ! into ? It must be Lv, saysKat Day, as she tells us how little we know about element 116.

t the end of last year, the International behaviour in , which we’d expect to Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry have very similar chemistry. The most stable A(IUPAC) announced the verification class of polonium compounds are , of the discoveries of four new chemical for example Na2Po (ref. 8), so in theory elements, 113, 115, 117 and 118, thus Na2Lv and its analogues should be attainable, completing 7 of the periodic table1. though they are yet to be synthesized. Though now named2 (no doubt after having Experiments carried out in 2011 showed 3 213 212m read the Sceptical Chymist blog post ), that the BiH3 and PoH2 were 9 we shall wait until the public consultation surprisingly thermally stable . LvH2 would period is over before In Your Element visits be expected to be less stable than the much these ephemeral entities. lighter polonium , but its chemical In the meantime, what do we know of investigation might be possible in the their close neighbour, element 116? Well, after , if a sufficiently stable can a false start4, the element was first legitimately be found. reported in 2000 by a collaborative team Despite the considerable challenges posed following experiments at the Joint Institute for by the short-lived of livermorium, EMMA SOFIA KARLSSON, , STOCKHOLM, KARLSSON, EMMA SOFIA Nuclear Research (JINR) in , . scientists are keen to explore its chemistry There, scientists bombarded a 248Cm target of only about sixty milliseconds before experimentally. As Robert Eichler, head with accelerated 48Ca . Just by simple decaying into flerovium (Fl, element 114), of the heavy elements research at summation of the respective atomic numbers, and in turn (Cn, 112) (ref. 6). the in Switzerland 96 and 20, one might predict that element 116 As a consequence, scientists have been concludes, more model studies will be would make an appearance; and so it proved, unable to collect a significant quantity for required to establish the most efficient way as the team successfully detected the alpha determination of its physical properties. to produce these new decay of a single such . The results were Indeed, only about 35 of it have ever species, but “chemistry has arrived on the later repeated by the same group, and have been observed. of superheavy elements”9. since been confirmed by other laboratories5. That said, thanks to its position in the It seems unlikely that scientists will ever Element 116 was officially named , we can perhaps make some carry out experiments on test tubes full of livermorium (Lv) in May 2012, having predictions. It falls into group 16 — known livermorium, but new insights may not be been known previously by its systematic as the — which also contains that far away. ❐ designation, ununhexium, with the symbol , , , and Uuh. The new name recognized the polonium. Like the others in its group, it’s KAT DAY is a freelance writer who Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory predicted to have six in its maintains The Chronicle Flask blog, in — host to some of the original shell, with an electronic configuration of https://thechronicleflask.wordpress.com. team responsible for the discovery, provider 7s2 7p4. However, electrons in superheavy Twitter: @chronicleflask of the target, and an institution that elements move much faster than those in has contributed much to the advancement of lighter atoms. As a result, the 7s and 7p References 1. Discovery and assignment of elements with atomic numbers nuclear generally. It was said in 2011 energy levels are expected to be very 113, 115, 117 and 118. IUPAC (30 December 2015); that the Russian vice director of the team at stable, the 7s particularly so due to the inert http://go.nature.com/29PRx11 JINR favoured the name , after pair effect. Two of the p7 electrons are also 2. IUPAC is naming the four new elements , moscovium, , and . IUPAC (8 June 2016); the region, for the new element. expected to be more stable than other four. http://go.nature.com/2a9y3R7 It now seems that this suggestion will be The upshot is that the +2 3. Ball, P., Burdette, S. C., Day, K., Scerri, E. R. & Thornton, B. F. employed for element 115. is likely to be favoured7. There should also be New kids on the p-. The Sceptical Chymist (26 January 2016); http://go.nature.com/29yyvH4 Like all of the superheavy elements, an accessible +4 oxidation state, although it 4. Ninov, V. et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 039901. livermorium is very unstable. The would probably only be achievable with very 5. Morita, K. et al. Accel. Prog. Rep. 47, xi (2013); 292Lv, 291Lv and 290Lv all have half-lives of electronegative such as (for http://go.nature.com/29yzqHr 6. Patin, J. B. et al. Confirmed Results of the248 Cm(48Ca,4n)292116 less than twenty milliseconds. Even its example, LvF4). Conversely, the +6 oxidation Experiment (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 2003); 293 longest-lived isotope, Lv, has a half-life state — observed for all the other elements http://go.nature.com/29PVzn0 in this group bar oxygen — is unlikely to 7. Borschevsky, A. et al. Phys. Rev. A 91, 020501(R) (2015). 8. Moyer, H. V. (ed.) Polonium (US Atomic Energy Commission, occur due to the difficulty of removing the 1956); http://go.nature.com/29Oe0Kk 7s electrons. We see comparable patterns of 9. Eichler, R. J. Phys. Conf. Ser. 420, 1 (2013). 113 Fl 115 Lv 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 896 NATURE CHEMISTRY | VOL 8 | SEPTEMBER 2016 | www.nature.com/naturechemistry ©2016 Mac millan Publishers Li mited, part of Spri nger Nature. All ri ghts reserved.