Atomic Symbol Cn
Atomic Number 112
Atomic Weight 285
presumably a solid at 298 K
Color unknown, but probably metallic and silvery white or grey in appearance

Named after Nicolaus Copernicus, Copernicium is a synthetic element that is not present in the environment. Isolation of an observable quantity of copernicium has never been achieved, and thus copernicium has no known uses. The reactivity of copernicium is unknown, but is assumed to be similar to mercury and cadmium.

Copernicium was first synthesized at 22:37 on February 9, 1996 at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung a.k.a the Institute for Heavy Ion Research a.k.a. GSI in Darmstadt, Germany, producing one atom in a two week experiment using their heavy ion accelerator UNILAC, via
Lead(208) + Zinc(70) = Copernicium(277) + 1 neutron

It can also be produced in the breakdown of Uuq via
Ununquadium(285) = Copernicium(281) + Helium(4)

The IUPAC recognized copernicium's place in the periodic table in February 2010.

roentgenium <-- copernicium --> ununtrium

Nov. 4, 2011. London, England The General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) approved the names of the new elements copernicium (Cn, element 112), as well as two other elements, darmstadtium (Ds, element 110), roentgenium (Rg, element 111). Copernicium contains 112 protons and has an atomic weight of 285. Its longest lived isotope, 285a112Cn has a half life of 29 sec. If copernicium had more neutrons, it would be very close to the island of stability, which is a combination of number of protons and neutrons in the right mix that, nuclear physicists believe, would allow these synthetic atoms to remain stable for months to millions of years.

The new element was created in Darmstadt, Germany at the GSI, the Center for Heavy Ion Research, in 1996, when one atom was made. It was created by bombarding a 208Pb lead target with 70Zn zinc ions that were accelerated in GSI's 100 meter long linear accelerator. The cold fusion process was:

20882Pb + 7030Zn → 278112Cn → 277112Cn + neutron

where a short lived isotope of Copernicium having 278 neutrons decayed into a more stable version when a neutron was emitted from the nucleus after 0.7 msec.

Copernicium is a D-block element, also called the transactinide elements, in the Group 12 family of elements that are called "transitional metals". Chemically similar elements are zinc, cadmium and mercury, although copernicium is expected to behave differently from its lighter versions.

About 75 atoms of Copernicium have been made. There are 8 isotopes and their half lives are between 29 sec and 0.7 msec.

Copernicium was named for Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who in 1541 published De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, wherein he presented the heliocentric version of astronomy and advocated that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

Everything2 Writeups: Articles on Chemistry, the Periodic Table, and new elements

  1. avjewe, Copernicium, Jun. 2001
  2. non-buzzard, Periodic Table of the Elements, May, 2002
  3. rfc1394, Periodic Table of the Elements, Apr, 2001
  4. IWhoSawTheFace, darmstadtium, Nov. 9, 2011
  5. IWhoSawTheFace, roentgenium, Nov. 9, 2011
  6. IWhoSawTheFace, island of stability, (not finished)

Internet References

  1. Wikipedia, "Copernicium"
  2. PhysOrg, "Three new elements named, including one for Copernicus," Nov. 4, 2011
  3. PhysOrg, "Chemical element 112 named 'Copernicium'," Feb 4, 2010
  4. PhysOrg, "A new chemical element in the periodic table," June 10, 2009. This was about "element 112", then not yet officially named, but commonly called copernicium by researchers in the field.
  5. About.com, "Copernicium"
  6. Visual Elements, Copernicium
  7. Web Elements, "Copernicium"
  8. YouTube, Copernicium, presented by the University of Nottingham. Part of a larger collection of videos called the Periodic Table of Videos.
  9. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, "On the Discovery of the Elements 110-112", IUPAC Technical Report, Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 73, No. 6, 2001
  10. Wikipedia, "Nicolaus Copernicus"
  11. Science World, "Copernicus," Wolfram Research

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