Moscovium (Mc), element 115 in the periodic table, is a synthetic element with the atomic number 115. On 28 November 2016, it was officially named after the Moscow Oblast. The most stable isotope, moscovium-290, has a half-life of less than 0.68 seconds. Moscovium is also known as eka-bismuth, originally named as ununpentium (Uup).
What is Moscovium, element 115 ?
Element 115 is situated in the p-block, sat in the 7th period and is the heaviest pnictogen. The properties are similar to nitrogen, phosphorus and bismuth. It also has similarities to thallium.
P Block elements are good conductors of electricity as they have a tendency to lose their electrons. P block elements have extremely diverse properties. Gallium, for example, that can literally melt in your hands. In contrast, silicon is a metalloid, used extensively in the manufacture of glass.
Moscovium – How is it synthesised?
The heaviest atomic nuclei are created by combining two nuclei. The heaviest nuclei is then bombarded by a beam of lighter nuclei. Fusion occurs if they approach each other closely enough. The beam of nuclei are accelerated, making repulsion forces negligible, relative to the beam velocity. If fusion occurs, a compound nucleus is in an excited state. To lose its excitation energy and to become stable, it either fissions or ejects neutrons.
Moscovium discovery – key milestones
Moscovium was first synthesised by a team of Russian and American scientists at JINR. 289Mc and 290Mc, were discovered in 2009, child variants of the tennessine isotopes 293Ts and 294Ts. 289Mc was later confirmed to have the same properties as found in the Ts experiments. In 2013, Lund University and Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) validated the original experiment. In 2017, the Dubna team published a journal, observing the nuclides 293Ts and 289Mc.
Berkeley Lab and FIONA – scientific contributions
Berkeley Lab’s contributions to research in heavy-elements is world renowned. They have played a part in the discovery of no less than 16 elements, starting with the synthesis of neptunium in the 40’s. FIONA is an upgrade plugin to the Berkeley Gas-filled Separator. BGS separates heavy elements from charged particles that are effectively noise. It separates them based on their mass and charge properties, and delivers them to a low-noise detector.
Physical properties of Moscovium
Moscovium is a member of group 15, the pnictogens. Pnictogen has a configuration of ns2np3. Moscovium exhibits the valence electron configuration of 7s27p3. Mc also demonstrates other properties relating to its spin–orbit. It’s chemistry is not the same as other congeners. Nihonium for example, has one electron outside a quasi-closed shell configuration that can be delocalised in the metallic state. They have similar boiling and melting points. The metallic bonds are also of a similar strength. Ionisation potential and polarisability follow more closely to Tl+ than Bi+3.
Chemical properties of Moscovium
The chemistry of moscovium would be expected to follow Mc+ and Mc3+ ions. Moscovium (I), hydroxide (McOH), carbonate (Mc2CO3), oxalate (Mc2C2O4) and fluoride (McF) should all be soluble in water. Both moscovium(I) and moscovium(III) should be common oxidation states.
Element 115 – The Bob Lazar story
In 1989, an ex-employee of Los Alamos, Bob Lazar, claimed he had worked with element 115 at a secret facility, infamously referred to as Area 51. His work was part of a top secret reverse engineering program. Lazar predicted that we would see the future creation of unstable isotopes of 115 – a prediction that has materialised in recent years. It is “impossible to synthesise an element that heavy here on Earth. The substance has to come from a place where super-heavy elements could have been produced naturally,” Lazar stated. Lazar has conducted many interviews in print and on screen, podcast and radio, revealing his remit as a research scientist at the Nevada test site, also know as ‘Groom Lake.’
Consistently, Lazar has been thwarted and pushed-back, often in an effort to destabilise him and his family. Many attempts have been made to discredit his professional career and past history. Lazar claimed witnessing anti-gravity propulsion, and a number of undistinguishable craft stored in a hangar at the base. He concluded that the core propulsion system was effecting the force of gravity locally, facilitating a form of travel through space that was not yet understood by mainstream science. He intimated that the characteristics of element 115 could be central to this poorly understood propulsion system. Lazar claims to have earned a master’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a master’s degree in electronic technology from the California Institute of Technology. There are no records of him studying at either. His alleged employment at a Nellis Air Force Base has been rejected by the United States Air Force.
Evidence supporting Lazar’s claims include this example from The Alamogordo Daily News featuring Lazar’s jet-powered car, citing “a physicist at the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility.” Lazar alleges that his records have been erased; however, skeptics such as Donald R. Prothero, Stanton T. Friedman, and Timothy D. Callahan have counted this. According to Prothero, “He was employed not by the government but rather as a technician working for a private company that contracted work at Los Alamos.” Lazar maintains, to this day, quite intricate details around his experiences from this period, with remarkable consistency.
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В свою очередь, российские физики предлагают свой вариант – ланжевений (Ln) в честь известного французского физика-теоретика прошлого столетия Ланжевена.
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