November 9, 1994 at 4:39 pm, the first atom of the heaviest chemical atom with atomic number 110 was detected at the Gesellschaft fur Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt, in Germany. For the last ten years, this element has been the subject of an intense search by many laboratories world-wide.
Element 110 was produced by fusing nickel and lead atom together. This was achieved by accelerating the nickel atoms to a high energy in the heavy ion accelerator. "This rare reaction occurs only at a very specific velocity of the nickel projectile. Over a period of many days, many billion billion nickel atoms must be shot at a lead target in order to produce and identify a single atom of element 110. The atoms produced in the nickel-lead collisions are selected by a velocity filter and then captured in a detector system which measures their decay. The energy of the emitted helium nuclei serves to identify the atom" (Press Release). This element was only found to have a lifetime of less than 1/1000th of a second. It is expected that soon a heavier version of element 110 that might be more stable, and that lives slightly longer will be developed.
Sources: Element 110 Discovered and the GSI.
Last Updated: 12/19/97