The discovery of superheavy elements: state of the art and perspectives

Prof. Emanuele Vardaci (Università di Napoli "Federico II")
Data e ora: 
Martedì, 9 Gennaio, 2024 - 14:45
Sala Conferenze

Since the discovery of the atomic nucleus and of natural radioactivity at the beginning of the last century, the dream of nuclear physicists, still very much alive today, is to artificially produce new nuclei, and in particular those heavier than uranium, the heaviest element found in nature. The method used by Fermi was that of neutron capture followed by beta decay. This method soon showed its limitation due to the evidence of a new process, nuclear fission. The enormous progress in understanding nuclear reactions has led to the recent discovery of superheavy elements with atomic numbers Z from 112 to 118. However, these new nuclei do not have enough neutrons to land on the predicted island at Z=114 and N= 184. This presentation will illustrate the journey that led to the synthesis of the superheavy elements and the current one towards the island of stability.

Emanuele Vardaci is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Physics “Ettore Pancini”, University of Naples "Federico II". He has been post-doc at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA) from July 1988 until September 1991. Since November 2001 he has been associated professor at the Department of Physics at the University of Naples “Federico II”. Prof. Vardaci is currently national spokesperson of the experiment FORTE, funded by the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) the topics of which are fission and quasi-fission modes, production of superheavy nuclei and neutron rich nuclei by multinucleon transfer nuclear reactions at energies around the Coulomb barrier. Prof. Vardaci has been member of the Joint IUPAC-IUPAP Committee for the discovery of the elements with atomic number bigger than 111 from 2006 to 2016.