New research suggests that the periodic table may once again reach 118. A team of nuclear chemists from the United States and Russia has announced the brief appearance of the unnamed element, the heaviest to date.
A report of element 118 had made a splash before. In 1999, a group at Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory claimed that it had created the element by bombarding lead with krypton ions (SN: 6/12/99, p. 372: http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc99/6_12_99/fob2.htm). But the researchers retracted the finding 2 years later (SN: 8/4/01, p. 68: Available to subscribers at Researchers take an element off the table), after other labs couldn't reproduce the results.
The new work synthesized element 118 from different materials—an isotope of californium and calcium ions. During each of two several-months-long experimental runs, the research team pummeled the californium with 10 million trillion calcium ions, says Mark A. Stoyer