G-block

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There are currently seven periods in the periodic table of chemical elements, culminating with atomic number 118. If further elements with higher atomic numbers than this are discovered, they will be placed in additional periods, laid out (as with the existing periods) to illustrate periodically recurring trends in the properties of the elements concerned. Any additional periods are expected to contain a larger number of elements than the seventh period, as they are calculated to have an additional so-called g-block, containing 18 elements with partially filled g-orbitals in each period. An eight-period table containing this block was suggested by Glenn T. Seaborg in 1969.[1][2]

No elements in this region have been synthesized or discovered in nature. (Element 122 was claimed to exist naturally in April 2008, but this claim was widely believed to be erroneous.)[3] The first element of the g-block may have atomic number 121, and thus would have the systematic name unbiunium. Elements in this region are likely to be highly unstable with respect to radioactive decay, and have extremely short half lives, although element 126 is hypothesized to be within an island of stability that is resistant to fission but not to alpha decay. It is not clear how many elements beyond the expected island of stability are physically possible, if period 8 is complete, or if there is a period 9. If period 9 does exist, it is likely to be the last.

According to the orbital approximation in quantum mechanical descriptions of atomic structure, the g-block would correspond to elements with partially-filled g-orbitals. However, spin-orbit coupling effects reduce the validity of the orbital approximation substantially for elements of high atomic number.[4]

Contents

Extended periodic table, including the g-block

It is unknown how far the periodic table extends beyond the known 118 elements. Some[citation needed] suggest that the highest possible element may be under Z=130. However, if higher elements do exist, it is unlikely that they can be meaningfully assigned to the periodic chart above a Z calculated to be 173, as discussed in the next section. This chart therefore ends at that number, without meaning to imply that all of those 173 elements are actually possible, nor to imply that heavier elements are not possible.

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