The most stable isotope nionium (113 protons) has a half-life of almost eight seconds, while the Oganesson has only 0.7 milliseconds
Currently, two global goals lie almost within the reach of scientists’ experiments.
One of them is to add the eighth row of the periodic table. So far, researchers have created all the elements in the first seven periods – from hydrogen (one proton) to the Oganesson (118 protons). Thus, the synthesis of heavier elements will open a new one.
Another goal is to find an “island of stability” in a sea of superheavy nuclei. Superheavy elements usually become more unstable the more protons they contain.
For example, the most stable isotope nionium (113 protons) has a half-life of almost eight seconds, while the Oganesson has only 0.7 milliseconds.
But theorists believe that this trend will change for elements that lie a little further than the Oganesson. They suggest that there is a particularly stable nucleus, which is “doubly magic”, having the magic numbers of both protons and neutrons. Long-lived superheavy elements will open a new type of chemistry, which includes longer reactions.
To realize these goals, experimenters must determine how to maximize their chances of creating superheavy nuclei, since it is estimated that the synthesis of one atom will take more than three months. To do this, they need to know the repulsive force that the two nuclei experience when they approach each other due to the attractive force of the nuclear potential.