On November 30, 2016, the Japanese scientists who had discovered element 113 on the Periodic Table officially named it Nihonium, making this a first for Japan. A group of scientists at RIKEN led by Dr. Kosuke Morita of Kyushu University discovered the new element. Synthesizing it was theoretically simple as they just needed to collide the respective nuclei of a zinc atom (atomic number of 30) and a bismuth atom (with an atomic number of 83) and cause nuclear fusion. However, the nuclei are incredibly small at about one-trillionth of a centimeter in size, and even when collided, the probability of creating the new element is extremely small at one in 100 trillion. That is why the researchers continued to bombard bismuth with a large amount of zinc ions.
Dr. Kosuke Morita and his colleagues confirmed their first synthesis of a new element in 2004. However, proving creation of the new element involved confirmation that it changed into a known nuclide after it decayed. So the researchers spent an additional 8 years to synthesize and verify 3 more atoms of element 113. We'll take an in-depth look at how they succeeded in creating the new element.
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This microscope reveals what cannot be seen by the human eye