An Overview about the Chemical Element Ununquadium


Symbol: Uuq

Atomic Number: 114

Atomic Mass: 289 amu (atomic mass units)

Melting Point: Unknown

Boiling Point: Unknown

Number of Protons: 114

Number of Electrons: 114

Number of Neutrons: 175

Classification: Metallic Man made

Crystal Structure: Unknown

Density @ 293 K: Unknown

Color: Unknown

In January 1999 scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia announced the discovery of a new radioactive super-heavy element. In December of the previous year they had aimed a beam of accelerated calcium-48 ions at a target made of plutonium-244 atoms. The speed of the impact of these ions overcame the forces that usually keep two elements from combining. For a few brief seconds one atom of element 114 had come into existence.

The element has been given the holding name of ununquadium and the symbol Uuq by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). This organization is responsible for the overseeing of the naming of all new chemical elements. Ununquadium relates to the elements atomic number un-un-quad meaning 1-1-4. Holding names for elements are usually replaced by a name of a place or a scientist nominated by the team making the discovery of a new element.

Element 114 has also been known as eka-lead. The term “eka” was used for an element that has yet to be discovered.

The first isotope produced by the Russian team of this new element was ununquadium-289 which has a half life of 21 seconds. This is the most stable isotope of ununquadium produced to date. Ununquaium-289 decays by alpha decay to form an isotope of another super-heavy element – ununbium-285. Three other isotopes have since been produced these are ununquadium-285 (half life 0.58 milliseconds), ununquadium-286 (half life 0.13 seconds) and ununquadium-287 (half life 0.48 seconds).

As so few atoms of this element have been produced very little is known about its properties. It is in the p-block, group number 14 and period number 7 of the periodic table. If ever a sufficient amount of ununquadium was produced to become visible it is expected to be metallic and gray or white in color. It is highly unlikely that such a quantity of ununquadium will ever be produced and with its short half life studying its chemical interactions would be extremely difficult.

There are no industrial applications for ununquadium and it is probable there never will be. At present the element remains of interest in the study of super heavy elements in specialized laboratories around the world.