Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A new period in superheavy-element hunting

The periodic table as we know it now seems complete, its current 118 elements nicely fitting in the seven familiar rows. How many more can be synthesized — and how will the table expand to accommodate them? The search for ever-heavier elements is pointing towards new periods, though perhaps not as neatly ordered as the first seven.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The periodic table proposed up to element 172.

Figure adapted from ref. 15, RSC

Fig. 2: Upper end of the chart of nuclides.


  1. Mendelejew, D. I. Zh. Russ. Khim. Obshch. 1, 60–77 (1869).

    Google Scholar 

  2. Öhrström, L. & Reedijk, J. Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 1225–1229 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Schӓdel, M. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 45, 368–401 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Hofmann, S. J. Phys. G 42, 114001 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Morita, K. et al. J. Phys. Soc. Jpn 81, 103201 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Oganessian, Y. T. & Utyonkov, V. K. Nucl. Phys. A 944, 62–98 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Roberto, J. B. et al. Nucl. Phys. A 944, 99–116 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Oganessian, Y. T. et al. Phys. Rev. C 79, 024603 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hofmann, S. et al. Eur. Phys. J. A 52, 180 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Düllmann, C. E. EPJ Web Conf. 131, 08004 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Chapman, K. Hunt for element 119 to begin. Chemistry World (September 12, 2017);

  12. Dmitriev, S., Itkis, M. & Oganessian, Y. EPJ Web Conf. 131, 08001 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Türler, A. & Pershina, V. Chem. Rev. 113, 1237–1312 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Indelicato, P., Bieroń, J. & Jönsson., P. Theor. Chem. Acc. 129, 495 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Pyykkö, P. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 13, 161–168 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Chem. Int. 38, 22–23 (2016).

  17. Sobiczewski, A. & Pomorski, K. Prog. Part. Nucl. Phys. 58, 292–349 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Magill, J., Dreher, R. & Sóti, Z. Karlsruher Nuklidkarte 10th edn (Nucleonica GmbH, 2018).

  19. Koura, H., Tachibana, T., Uno, M. & Yamada, M. Prog. Theor. Phys. 113, 305–324 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Haba, H. Radioisotopes 67, 277–289 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hiromitsu Haba.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Haba, H. A new period in superheavy-element hunting. Nature Chem 11, 10–13 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing