# Synopsis: The More the Merrier…and Heavier

Experimentalists make considerable progress towards sustained production of superheavy elements.

Where does the periodic table end? Extending the periodic table to the artificially synthesized superheavy elements is one of the most fascinating avenues of nuclear research, offering sensitive tests of theories of nuclear physics and chemistry (see 9 April 2010 Viewpoint). The difficulties to overcome are not only that the experiments last several months, but also that at the end, they typically produce few, of the order of two or three, superheavy nuclei.

Writing in Physical Review Letters, Yuri Oganessian at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Russia, and collaborators report on results from the bombardment of a radioactive americum-$243$ target by calcium-$48$ projectiles. After a run lasting four months, they have produced twenty-two nuclei of element $115$. The high yield was achieved by optimizing beam energy and detection performance as well as by increasing beam dose. This is an improvement of more than twice the previous yields of such nuclei. Apart from the technical feat of the substantially enhanced production of this superheavy nucleus, the results from this experiment provide a wealth of information on how such superheavy elements decay, with consequences for nuclear structure physics and stability in general. – Abhishek Agarwal

More Features »

### Announcements

More Announcements »

Nuclear Physics

String Theory

## Next Synopsis

Materials Science

## Related Articles

Particles and Fields

### Synopsis: Proton Loses Weight

The most precise measurement to date of the proton mass finds a value that is 3 standard deviations lower than previous estimates. Read More »

Particles and Fields

### Viewpoint: Scattering Experiments Tease Out the Strong Force

The scattering of protons from a carbon isotope can be used to test models of the strong force. Read More »

Particles and Fields

### Viewpoint: Getting to the Bottom of an Antineutrino Anomaly

The Daya Bay Collaboration reports that sterile neutrinos probably aren’t behind a puzzling deficit in detected antineutrinos at nuclear reactors. Read More »