TECH

Newly-Discovery Element, Ununpentium 115, Has Been In Call Of Duty For Years

28/08/2013 10:39 BST
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Scientists have discovered a new 'super-heavy' element - despite it being featured in computer games for years.

The new find has an atomic number of 115 and is currently known as ununpentium -- until its discoverer, Sergie Dmitriev, names it for real.

The element was first proposed by Russian scientists in 2004 and is awaiting official recognition as the findings are analysed.

atom

The research also gave an insight into properties of super-heavy atomic nuclei

Ununpentium has a long history, though - including being featured in the Call of Duty games, where it is a power source for teleporters. UFO conspiracists have long suspected it is crucial to alien technology.

The reality is a little more mundane. The reason it's taken so long to confirm the existence of the element is it is incredibly unstable with a half-life of just 160 milliseconds.

As such, its uses are likely to be very limited.

Professor Dirk Rudolph who led the research, said: "Given the production rate - let's say, two atoms per day - practical implications are far fetched.

"Concerning the natural occurence, there are speculations that in the course of stellar supernova explosions the astrophysical rapid-neutron capture process may lead to superheavy elements just at or just short of this neutron number 184.

"So in a sense yes, possibly in outer space - while if they had been part of the solar system they most likely had decayed by today."

To 'see' ununpentium, researchers at the division of atomic physics at Lund University, Sweden, bombarded a film of americium (atomic number 95) with calcium ions.

The x-rays given off by the reaction were then analysed giving a "fingerprint" of ununpentium.

The findings are presented in the scientific journal 'Physical Review Letters'.