Ununpentium (pronounced /uːnuːnˈpɛntiəm/ ( listen) oon-oon-PEN-tee-əm) is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uup and has the atomic number 115.
It is placed as the heaviest member of group 15 (VA) although a sufficiently stable isotope is not known at this time that would allow chemical experiments to confirm its position. It was first observed in 2003 and only about 30 atoms of ununpentium have been synthesized to date, with just 4 direct decays of the parent element having been detected. Four consective isotopes are currently known, 287-290Uup, with 289Uup having the longest measured half-life of ~220 ms, although the isotope 290Uup may well have an even longer half-life (only a single decay has been measured leading to poor accuracy).
On February 2, 2004, synthesis of ununpentium was reported in Physical Review C by a team composed of Russian scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, and American scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The team reported that they bombarded americium-243 with calcium-48 ions to produce four atoms of ununpentium. These atoms, they report, decayed by emission of alpha-particles to ununtrium in approximately 100 milliseconds.
4820Ca + 24395Am → 291115Uup* → 288115Uup
The Dubna-Livermore collaboration has strengthened their claim for the discovery of ununpentium by conducting chemical experiments on the decay daughter 268Db. In experiments in June 2004 and December 2005, the Dubnium isotope was successfully identified by milking the Db fraction and measuring any SF activities. Both the half-life and decay mode were confirmed for the proposed 268Db which lends support to the assignment of Z=115 to the parent nuclei.
Sergei Dmitriev from the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions (FLNR) in Dubna, Russia, has formally put forward their claim of discovery of ununpentium to the Joint Working Party (JWP) from IUPAC and IUPAP. The JWP are expected to publish their opinions on such claims in the near future.
Ununpentium is historically known as eka-bismuth. Ununpentium is a temporary IUPAC systematic element name. Research scientists usually refer to the element simply as element 115.
As a primary next-goal for the Dubna team, they are planning to examine two products of the 243Am + 48Ca using mass spectrometry in their state-of-the-art MASHA machine. They will attempt to isolate the dubnium products, convert them chemically into a volatile compound, most likely 268DbCl5, and measure the mass directly.
The FLNR also have future plans to study light isotopes of element 115 using the reaction 241Am + 48Ca.
The table below contains various combinations of targets and projectiles which could be used to form compound nuclei with Z=115.
This section deals with the synthesis of nuclei of ununpentium by so-called "hot" fusion reactions. These are processes which create compound nuclei at high excitation energy (~40-50 MeV, hence "hot"), leading to a reduced probability of survival from fission. The excited nucleus then decays to the ground state via the emission of 3-5 neutrons. Fusion reactions utilizing 48Ca nuclei usually produce compound nuclei with intermediate excitation energies (~30-35 MeV) and are sometimes referred to as "warm" fusion reactions. This leads, in part, to relatively high yields from these reactions.
There are strong indications that this reaction was performed in late 2004 as part of a uranium(IV) fluoride target test at the GSI. No reports have been published suggesting that no products atoms were detected, as anticipated by the team.
This reaction was first performed by the team in Dubna in July-August 2003. In two separate runs they were able to detect 3 atoms of 288Uup and a single atom of 287Uup. The reaction was studied further in June 2004 in an attempt to isolate the descendant 268Db from the 288Uup decay chain. After chemical separation of a +4/+5 fraction, 15 SF decays were measured with a lifetime consistent with 268Db. In order to prove that the decays were from dubnium-268, the team repeated the reaction in August 2005 and separated the +4 and +5 fractions and further separated the +5 fractions into tantalum-like and niobium-like ones. Five SF activities were observed, all occurring in the +5 fractions and none in the tantalum-like fractions, proving that the product was indeed isotopes of dubnium.
The table below provides cross-sections and excitation energies for hot fusion reactions producing ununpentium isotopes directly. Data in bold represent maxima derived from excitation function measurements. + represents an observed exit channel.
Theoretical calculations using a quantum-tunneling model support the experimental alpha-decay half-lives.
The table below contains various target-projectile combinations for which calculations have provided estimates for cross section yields from various neutron evaporation channels. The channel with the highest expected yield is given.
MD = multi-dimensional; DNS = Di-nuclear system; σ = cross section
Ununpentium is projected to be the third member of the 7p series of non-metals and the heaviest member of group 15 (VA) in the Periodic Table, below bismuth. In this group, each member is known to portray the group oxidation state of +V but with differing stability. For nitrogen, the +V state is very difficult to achieve due to the lack of low-lying d-orbitals and the inability of the small nitrogen atom to accommodate five ligands. The +V state is well represented for phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony. However, for bismuth it is rare due to the reluctance of the 6s2 electron to participate in bonding. This effect is known as the "inert pair effect" and is commonly linked to relativistic stabilisation of the 6s-orbitals. It is expected that ununpentium will continue this trend and portray only +III and +I oxidation states. Nitrogen(I) and bismuth(I) are known but rare and Uup(I) is likely to show some unique properties.
It is expected that the chemistry of ununpentium will be related to its lighter homologue bismuth. In this regard it is expected to undergo oxidation only as far as the trioxide Uup2O3. Oxidation with the more reactive halogens should form the trihalides, such as UupF3 and UupCl3. The less-oxidizing, heavier halogens may be able to promote only the formation of the monohalides, UupBr and UupI.
* Some UFOlogists believe that a stable room temperature isotope of ununpentium exists, and that it functions as the fuel for an anti-gravity engine used by alien flying saucers. This claim was initially made in 1989, about 14 years before ununpentium was first synthesized.
* Island of stability
1. ^ J. Chatt (1979). "Recommendations for the Naming of Elements of Atomic Numbers Greater than 100". Pure Appl. Chem. 51: 381–384. doi:10.1351/pac197951020381.
* Uut and Uup Add Their Atomic Mass to Periodic Table