Four new isotopes discovered by researchers at Manipal University

Sep 21, 2015 17:16 IST

Researchers from the Manipal Centre of Natural Sciences at Manipal University, Karnataka in collaboration with researchers at GSI, Germany claimed to have discovered four new atomic nuclei to be added to the Chart of the Nuclides.

The claim was made in a paper published on 2 September 2015 in the journal Physics Letters B. The paper was published by H. M. Devaraja from the Manipal Centre of Natural Sciences at Manipal University.

The collaborators focused on the development of new methods of synthesis for the super heavy elements.

The nuclei are one isotope each of the elements berkelium  (Bk, atomic number 97) and neptunium (Np, atomic number 93) and two isotopes of the element americium (Am, atomic number 95). The researchers used a new, highly sensitive method to create and detect the nuclei.

How it was discovered?

The researchers shot at a 300-nanometer-thick beam of curium with accelerated calcium nuclei. In the collisions, the atomic nuclei of the two elements touched and formed a compound system for a very short time. After about a sextillionth of a second, before the compound system could fall apart again, the two nuclei involved interchanged a number of their protons and neutrons. Different isotopes formed as the end products of this exchange.

About isotopes

Isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. Therefore, they differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties.

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