Chemistry World visited the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to meet some of the scientists who study superheavy metals. In this series of vidoes we ask them how they do it, how many more elements do they think they can make, and what led them to this field of study. They also tell us about their latest projects in which they will attempt to measure the masses of single atoms and perform chemistry on these short-lived elements.

Some of the experiments that produce superheavy elements have production rates of less than one atom per week. The lifetime of this individual atom is 2 seconds at best but may be as little as one millisecond. Doing chemistry with these elements is difficult. But that is not stopping  Dawn Shaughnessy and John Despotopulos of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The results could challenge the structure of the periodic table.

The element makers: Making superheavy elements