For the first time, researchers have studied the chemistry of the element hassium, confirming its location on the periodic table.
Hassium, with 108 protons in each atom, is the heaviest element yet to have its chemical properties analyzed. First created in 1984, hassium doesn't exist in nature–it must be made by combining the nuclei of lighter elements.
Suspecting that hassium has properties similar to osmium and other so-called group 8 elements, chemists placed hassium on the periodic table directly below osmium. Such placement, however, relied only on theoretical predictions, says Heino Nitsche of the Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory. No one had actually observed hassium behavior–until now.
Nitsche and his colleagues in Berkeley worked with researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen and the University of Bern in Switzerland and the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry in Mainz, Germany.