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Science Briefing

Scientists confirm new element

September 26, 2009|From Times Staff And Wire Reports

Ten years after Russian scientists first reported the discovery of element 114, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have confirmed its existence.

However, the team found that the new element did not lie on the so-called island of stability, the group of super-heavy elements that are expected to survive for more than a fraction of a second.

To produce the element, the team at Berkeley, headed by Heino Nitsche and Ken Gregorich, used a particle accelerator to fire ions of calcium-48 at a target of plutonium-242 for eight days almost continuously.

The resulting isotopes of element 114 lasted for a half a second or less before decaying.

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