Livermorium is an artificial radioactive element with element symbol Lv and atomic number 116. It is in the same group with oxygen, sulfur, and selenium, but probably has more in common with polonium, which is the element directly above it on the periodic table.
Basic Livermorium Facts
Atomic Number: 116
Element Symbol: Lv
Group: Group 167 (chalcogens)
Period: Period 7
Element Family: Livermorium is probably a post-transition metal, but with some properties of the lighter elements above it on the periodic table.
Atomic Mass: 
Electron Configuration: [Rn] 5f14 6d10 7s2 7p4 (predicted)
Electrons per Shell: 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 18, 6 (predicted)
Discovery: Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2000)
Name Origin: Named for Livermore, CA (the home to LLNL)
History of Discovery
A team of Russian and American scientists discovered livermorium in 2000. Its discovery was the result of joint work between scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, USA.
The creation of livermorium involved bombarding curium-248 atoms with accelerated calcium-48 ions. The process yielded a single atom of the livermorium. Its existence was determined by observing the alpha decay chain of the produced atom.
Initially, the researchers identified the isotope as 292Lv, but later analysis indicated the decay scheme was 296Lv into 293Lv and then into 289Fl.
Prior to confirmation of its discovery, the placeholder names for element 116 were eka-polonium or ununhexium (Uuh). The Joint Working Party (JWP) of IUPAC recognized the name “livermorium” for the element on June 1, 2011. Originally, the Dubna team considered the name “moscovium”, but used this for element 115 instead. The name “livermorium” and element symbol “Lv” honor Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a key collaborator in the element’s discovery. The lab takes its name for Livermore, California, which is named for rancher Robert Livermore.
Identifying the isotopes of livermorium is tricky, since this depends on identifying its decay products. So far, data indicates synthesis of 290Lv, 291Lv, 292Lv, 293Lv, 294Lv (probably), and 296Lv.
Making livermorium is so expensive and its decay so quick that there are no practical uses of this element. In the future, scientists may synthesize an isotope with a longer half-life. This would open up the possible uses of livermorium for research and other applications.
Biological Role and Toxicity
Because livermorium does not exist in nature, it serves no biological role in any organism. It is hazardous because of its radioactivity. As a congener of highly poisonous polonium, it’s likely livermorium is also toxic.
There are no natural sources of livermorium. It is an artificial element.
Livermorium decays quickly, so its physical data relies on predictions rather than empirical data.
State at STP: Solid (predicted)
Density (near room temperature.): 12.9 g/cm3 (predicted)
Melting Point: 637–780 K (364–507 °C, 687–944 °F) (predicted)
Boiling Point: 1035–1135 K (762–862 °C, 1403–1583 °F) (predicted)
Heat of Fusion: 7.61 kJ/mol (predicted)
Heat of Vaporization: 42 kJ/mol (predicted)
Atomic Radius: 183 pm
Covalent Radius: 162-155 pm (predicted)
1st Ionization Energy: 663.9 kJ/mol (predicted)
2nd Ionization Energy: 1330 kJ/mol (predicted)
3rd Ionization Energy: 2850 kJ/mol (predicted)
Oxidation States: (-2), (+2), (+4) (predicted)
10 Interesting Livermorium Element Facts
- Livermorium is a synthetic element and does not occur naturally. It is produced in a laboratory setting through nuclear reactions.
- It gets its name for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, USA, which collaborated with the Russian institute Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) for its discovery.
- The discovery of livermorium was announced in 2000, but it wasn’t officially recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) until mid-2011.
- The most stable known isotope of livermorium, livermorium-293, has a half-life of about 60 milliseconds. The element’s instability makes it challenging to study and limits its practical applications.
- Yet, 60 milliseconds is a relatively long time for an isotope to stick around. Livermorium is a member of the “island of stability”, a set of heavy isotopes that potentially have long half-lives.
- Livermorium is located in the p-block of the periodic table, in group 16, period 7. While it is likely a post-transition metal, the elements above it in group 16 are nonmetals and metalloids.
- Although it’s difficult to confirm due to livermorium’s instability and rarity, it’s predicted to be a heavy homologue of polonium, and thus would likely be a volatile metal or metalloid that could readily sublimate upon heating.
- Due to its short half-life and the minuscule amounts in which it can be produced, livermorium currently has no commercial uses.
- Livermorium likely has similar chemical properties to its lighter homologues in group 16 of the periodic table. For example, it’s principal oxidation state is +2.
- The discovery of livermorium contributes to the development of advanced models of atomic structure and helps expand our understanding of the nature and behavior of superheavy elements.
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