Oganesson is a syntheticchemical element with the symbolOg and atomic number 118. It was first synthesized in 2002 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, near Moscow, Russia, by a joint team of Russian and American scientists. In December 2015, it was recognized as one of four new elements by the Joint Working Party of the international scientific bodies IUPAC and IUPAP. It was formally named on 28 November 2016. The name is in line with the tradition of honoring a scientist, in this case the nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian, who has played a leading role in the discovery of the heaviest elements in the periodic table. It is one of only two elements named after a person who was alive at the time of naming, the other being seaborgium, and the only element whose namesake is alive today.
Oganesson has the highest atomic number and highest atomic mass of all known elements. The radioactive oganesson atom is very unstable, and since 2005, only five (possibly six) atoms of the isotope 294Og have been detected. Although this allowed very little experimental characterization of its properties and possible compounds, theoretical calculations have resulted in many predictions, including some surprising ones. For example, although oganesson is a member of group 18 (the noble gases) – the first synthetic element to be so – it may be significantly reactive, unlike all the other elements of that group. It was formerly thought to be a gas under normal conditions but is now predicted to be a solid due to relativistic effects. On the periodic table of the elements it is a p-block element and the last one of period 7.
The possibility of a seventh noble gas, after helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon was considered almost as soon as the noble gas group was discovered. The Danish chemist Hans Peter Jørgen Julius Thomsen predicted in April 1895, the year after the discovery of argon, that there was a whole series of chemically inert gases similar to argon that would bridge the halogen and alkali metal groups: he expected that the seventh of this series would end a 32-element period which contained thorium and uranium and have an atomic weight of 292, close to the 294 now known for the first and only confirmed isotope of oganesson.Niels Bohr noted in 1922 that this seventh noble gas should have atomic number 118 and predicted its electronic structure as 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 18, 8, matching modern predictions. Following this, Aristid von Grosse wrote an article in 1965 predicting the likely properties of element 118. It was 107 years from Thomsen's prediction before oganesson was successfully synthesised, although its chemical properties have not been investigated to determine if it behaves as the heavier congener of radon.
Unconfirmed discovery claims
In late 1998, Polish physicist Robert Smolańczuk published calculations on the fusion of atomic nuclei towards the synthesis of superheavy atoms, including oganesson. His calculations suggested that it might be possible to make oganesson by fusing lead with krypton under carefully controlled conditions, and that the fusion probability (cross section) of that reaction would be close to the lead–chromium reaction that had produced element 106, seaborgium. This contradicted predictions that the cross sections for reactions with lead or bismuth targets would go down exponentially as the atomic number of the resulting elements increased.
The following year, they published a retraction after researchers at other laboratories were unable to duplicate the results and the Berkeley lab could not duplicate them either. In June 2002, the director of the lab announced that the original claim of the discovery of these two elements had been based on data fabricated by principal author Victor Ninov. Newer experimental results and theoretical predictions have confirmed the exponential decrease in cross sections with lead and bismuth targets as the atomic number of the resulting nuclide increases.
The first genuine decay of atoms of oganesson was observed in 2002 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, by a joint team of Russian and American scientists. Headed by Yuri Oganessian, a Russian nuclear physicist of Armenian ethnicity, the team included American scientists of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California. The discovery was not announced immediately, because the decay energy of 294Og matched that of 212mPo, a common impurity produced in fusion reactions aimed at producing superheavy elements, and thus announcement was delayed until after a 2005 confirmatory experiment aimed at producing more oganesson atoms. On 9 October 2006, the researchers announced that they had indirectly detected a total of three (possibly four) nuclei of oganesson-294 (one or two in 2002 and two more in 2005) produced via collisions of californium-249 atoms and calcium-48 ions.
In 2011, IUPAC evaluated the 2006 results of the Dubna–Livermore collaboration and concluded: "The three events reported for the Z = 118 isotope have very good internal
redundancy but with no anchor to known nuclei do not satisfy the criteria for discovery".
Because of the very small fusion reaction probability (the fusion cross section is ~0.3–0.6pb or (3–6)×10−41 m2) the experiment took four months and involved a beam dose of 2.5×1019calcium ions that had to be shot at the californium target to produce the first recorded event believed to be the synthesis of oganesson. Nevertheless, researchers were highly confident that the results were not a false positive, since the chance that the detections were random events was estimated to be less than one part in 100000.
In the experiments, the alpha-decay of three atoms of oganesson was observed. A fourth decay by direct spontaneous fission was also proposed. A half-life of 0.89 ms was calculated: 294 Og decays into Lv by alpha decay. Since there were only three nuclei, the half-life derived from observed lifetimes has a large uncertainty: 0.89+1.07 −0.31 ms.
294 118Og → 290 116Lv +
The identification of the 294 Og nuclei was verified by separately creating the putative daughter nucleus290 Lv directly by means of a bombardment of Cm with Ca ions,
245 96Cm + 48 20Ca → 290 116Lv + 3 ,
and checking that the 290 Lv decay matched the decay chain of the 294 Og nuclei. The daughter nucleus 290 Lv is very unstable, decaying with a lifetime of 14 milliseconds into Fl, which may experience either spontaneous fission or alpha decay into Cn, which will undergo spontaneous fission.
In a quantum-tunneling model, the alpha decay half-life of 294 Og was predicted to be 0.66+0.23 −0.18 ms with the experimental Q-value published in 2004. Calculation with theoretical Q-values from the macroscopic-microscopic model of Muntian–Hofman–Patyk–Sobiczewski gives somewhat lower but comparable results.
One atom of the heavier isotope 295Og may have been seen in a 2011 experiment at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany aimed at the synthesis of element 120 in the reaction 248Cm+54Cr, but uncertainties in the data meant that the observed chain cannot be definitely assigned to 299120 and 295Og: the data indicates for 295Og a half-life of 181 milliseconds, longer than that of 294Og, which is 0.7 milliseconds.
From 1 October 2015 to 6 April 2016, the Dubna team performed a similar experiment with 48Ca projectiles aimed at a mixed-isotope californium target containing 249Cf, 250Cf, and 251Cf, with the aim of producing the heavier oganesson isotopes 295Og and 296Og. Two beam energies at 252 MeV and 258 MeV were used. Only one atom was seen at the lower beam energy, whose decay chain fitted the previously known one of 294Og (terminating with spontaneous fission of 286Fl), and none were seen at the higher beam energy. The experiment was then halted, as the glue from the sector frames covered the target and blocked evaporation residues from escaping to the detectors. The Dubna team planned to repeat this experiment in 2017–2020. The production of 293Og and its daughter 289Lv, as well as the even heavier isotope 297Og, is also possible using this reaction. The isotopes 295Og and 296Og may also be produced in the fusion of 248Cm with 50Ti projectiles, a reaction planned at the JINR and at RIKEN in 2017–2018. A search beginning in summer 2016 at RIKEN for 295Og in the 3n channel of this reaction was unsuccessful, though the study is planned to resume; a detailed analysis and cross section limit were not provided. These heavier and likely more stable isotopes may be useful in probing the chemistry of oganesson.
Element 118 was named after Yuri Oganessian, a pioneer in the discovery of synthetic elements, with the name oganesson (Og). Oganessian and the decay chain of oganesson-294 were pictured on a stamp of Armenia issued on 28 December 2017.
Using Mendeleev's nomenclature for unnamed and undiscovered elements, oganesson is sometimes known as eka-radon (until the 1960s as eka-emanation, emanation being the old name for radon). In 1979, IUPAC assigned the systematicplaceholder nameununoctium to the undiscovered element, with the corresponding symbol of Uuo, and recommended that it be used until after confirmed discovery of the element. Although widely used in the chemical community on all levels, from chemistry classrooms to advanced textbooks, the recommendations were mostly ignored among scientists in the field, who called it "element 118", with the symbol of E118, (118), or even simply 118.
Before the retraction in 2001, the researchers from Berkeley had intended to name the element ghiorsium (Gh), after Albert Ghiorso (a leading member of the research team).
The Russian discoverers reported their synthesis in 2006. According to IUPAC recommendations, the discoverers of a new element have the right to suggest a name. In 2007, the head of the Russian institute stated the team were considering two names for the new element: flyorium, in honor of Georgy Flyorov, the founder of the research laboratory in Dubna; and moskovium, in recognition of the Moscow Oblast where Dubna is located. He also stated that although the element was discovered as an American collaboration, who provided the californium target, the element should rightly be named in honor of Russia since the Flyorov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at JINR was the only facility in the world which could achieve this result. These names were later suggested for element 114 (flerovium) and element 116 (moscovium). Flerovium became the name of element 114; the final name proposed for element 116 was instead livermorium, with moscovium later being proposed and accepted for element 115 instead.
Traditionally, the names of all noble gases end in "-on", with the exception of helium, which was not known to be a noble gas when discovered. The IUPAC guidelines valid at the moment of the discovery approval however required all new elements be named with the ending "-ium", even if they turned out to be halogens (traditionally ending in "-ine") or noble gases (traditionally ending in "-on"). While the provisional name ununoctium followed this convention, a new IUPAC recommendation published in 2016 recommended using the "-on" ending for new group 18 elements, regardless of whether they turn out to have the chemical properties of a noble gas.
The scientists involved in the discovery of element 118, as well as those of 117 and 115, held a conference call on 23 March 2016. Element 118 was the last to be decided upon; after Oganessian was asked to leave the call, the remaining scientists unanimously decided to have the element "oganesson" after him. Oganessian was a pioneer in superheavy element research for sixty years reaching back to the field's foundation: his team and his proposed techniques had led directly to the synthesis of elements 107 through 118. Mark Stoyer, nuclear chemist at the LLNL, later recalled, "We had intended to propose that name from Livermore, and things kind of got proposed at the same time from multiple places. I don’t know if we can claim that we actually proposed the name, but we had intended it."
In internal discussions, IUPAC asked the JINR if they wanted the element to be spelled "oganeson" to match the spelling used in Russian more closely. Oganessian and the JINR refused this offer, citing the Soviet-era practice of transliterating names into the Latin alphabet in accordance with the rules of the French language (“Oganessian” is a such a transliteration) and arguing that "oganesson" would be easier to link to the person.[a] In June 2016, IUPAC announced that the discoverers planned to give the element the name oganesson (symbol: Og). The name became official on 28 November 2016. In 2017, Oganessian commented on the naming:
For me, it is an honour. The discovery of element 118 was by scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia and at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US, and it was my colleagues who proposed the name oganesson. My children and grandchildren have been living in the US for decades, but my daughter wrote to me to say that she did not sleep the night she heard because she was crying.
Not like much! You see, not like much. It is customary in science to name something new after its discoverer. It’s just that there are few elements, and this happens rarely. But look at how many equations and theorems in mathematics are named after somebody. And in medicine? Alzheimer, Parkinson. There’s nothing special about it.