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Industry Insight

Can the Isotopes of the Four Newly Found Elements be Applied in Isotope Labeling?

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Industry Insight

Can the Isotopes of the Four Newly Found Elements be Applied in Isotope Labeling?

Isotopes can be simply considered as the variants of an element with different neutrons number. But it’s the only difference in that makes them available for comparison and replacement applications. News from the Magazine of Science reported that four new elements were discovered and the periodic table will be filled out for its former seven columns. As one of the most important applications of isotope, isotopic labeling  is frequently applied in various aspects both in our daily lives and scientific researches, but what the newly added four elements and their isotopes can be made use of referring to this character is still waiting for probe.

Being unstable and stable is a relative innovation, and almost every element will decay, but for the stable ones, their half lives would extend to as long as million even billion years. All the four new elements are with over 92 protons, and all of them are placed in the right end of the periodic table, and the heaviest one with 118 protons is among them, which is a strong hint that they are unstable and would decay with a half live as short 30 hours. According to the introduction in the Wikipedia, the four elements are very unstable and up till to present, there are only three atoms detected for Uuo, the heaviest element. And it’s described that Uuo (current name) is an extreme radioactive isotope as the half life is under a millisecond.

The situation for the other three new elements is quite different. Uus (with 117 protons) carries with less than 1 second half life, which is much longer than Uuo in magnitude. The other two elements decay more slowly especially for Uup. There are six radioactive isotopes of Uut (with 113 protons). With the mass increase, their stability adds and the longest half life is about 20 seconds; others’ are less than one second. Interestingly, Uup is expected to be one of the elements in the island of stability, having a reverse stability condition with the ones after uranium carrying with decreased stability as the mass number increase.

The too short half lives may inhibit the isotopes of the four new elements to be applied in the radioactive labeling activities except some special conditions. Anyway the discoveries are still of great significance. They exist for reasons and can be made use of in many other circumstances.

Ada Brown from BOC Sciences
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