Monday, June 4, 2012

From a temporary designator to a recognized chemical element name: ununquadium becomes flerovium

The chemical element with atomic number 114 was until now addressed as ununquadium (Uuq) using the temporary designator and three-letter atomic symbol system recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).  A few days ago, IUPAC approved the name flerovium to replace the temporary designator ununquadium. The element symbol is Fl.

Mistaking Fl as the symbol for fluorine, which simply is F, should be unlikely, since the latter is in use for so long. Further, flerovium will not play any major role in composing compounds and writing their formulae, because it is a radioactive chemical element with isotopes exhibiting half-lifes of only a few seconds or less.

The name of this synthetic element honors the Russian physicist Georgiy N. Flerov and also the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Russia, a facility named after Flerov and known for its production of  various superheavy elements, including flerovium [1].

Flerovium's “left neighbor” —the element with atomic number 113, ununtrium, with the temporary symbol Uut—is provisionally named eka-thallium (no permanent IUPAC-approved name yet), since it finds its place below the group 13 (IIIa) element thallium in the periodic table. Following this Mendeleev-type notation, flerovium can be considered as eka-lead or eka-plumbum. Flerovium's “next-to-left neighbor ” with atomic number 112 (formerly ununbium) is officially named copernicium (Cn) [see naming history of copernicium].

[1] Adam Mann: 2 New Elements Named on Periodic Table. May 31, 2012 [].

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