Nihonium (Nh)


  • Symbol: Nh
  • Atomic Number: 113
  • Atomic Weight: [286]
  • Element Classification: Post-transition Metal
  • Discovered By: Joint team from RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) in Japan, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia
  • Discovery Date: 2004
  • Name Origin: Named after the Japanese word ‘Nihon’, meaning Japan
  • Density(g/cc): Estimated to be around 16 (predicted)
  • Melting Point: 430°C (estimated)
  • Boiling Point: 1130°C (estimated)
  • Appearance: Presumed to be metallic; actual appearance is unknown due to its radioactivity and scarcity
  • Atomic Radius(pm): Estimated


Nihonium was discovered in 2004 by a joint team from the RIKEN institute in Japan and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. The team led by Kosuke Morita at RIKEN successfully synthesized nihonium by bombarding a target of bismuth-209 with zinc-70 ions. The discovery marked the first time an element on the periodic table was discovered in an Asian country. Nihonium was officially recognized and named in 2016, with its name derived from ‘Nihon’, one of the two ways to say Japan in Japanese, reflecting the country of the element’s discovery.

Relation to Other Elements

Nihonium is the first element in the 7th period of the periodic table to be a post-transition metal. Positioned under thallium in group 13, it is anticipated to share some chemical and physical properties with its lighter homologue, although significant relativistic effects may modify its characteristics. The properties of nihonium are largely theoretical or based on minimal experimental data due to the challenges associated with producing and studying this highly unstable element.

Natural Occurrence

Nihonium does not occur naturally and is produced synthetically in particle accelerators through specific nuclear reactions.


Currently, the applications for nihonium are limited to scientific research because of its short half-life, intense radioactivity, and the complexities involved in its synthesis:

  • Scientific Research: Nihonium’s primary use is in the field of scientific research, particularly for studies aimed at understanding the properties of superheavy elements. Investigations focus on probing nihonium’s atomic structure, potential chemical behavior, and the effects of relativistic changes on its properties. This research contributes to expanding our knowledge of the periodic table’s limits and the behavior of elements under extreme conditions.

The discovery of nihonium represents a significant milestone in the exploration of superheavy elements and the international collaboration in scientific research. While practical applications are yet to be developed, ongoing studies on nihonium and similar elements continue to push the boundaries of chemistry and physics.


Copernicium (Cn)

Flerovium (Fl)