A view of the Nihhonium Monument at Riken laboratory where it was discovered.  [Kestrel / CC BY-SA (]

Facts about Nihonium:

  • Nihonium: Nihonium is a synthetic element, belonging to Group 13 (boron group) of the periodic table.  However, it is expected that Nihonium(I) cations would behave more like Silver than the other Group 13 elements.
  • Fun fact about Nihonium: Nihonium was discovered by a team of researchers at Riken in Wako, Japan and is named for the island country. 
  • Chemical symbol: Nh
  • Atomic number: 113

A crystal structure celebrating Nihonium:

The silver atoms (dark grey spheres) are bonded through organic molecules in extended (polymeric) chains.  Here silver is  in the +1 oxidation state.

Facts about this structure:

  • Formula: (C5 H10 Ag N O2)n
  • Structure name: catena-[(μ-L-valinato-N,O)-silver(i)]
  • Fun fact about the structure: This silver(I) structure published by a team of Japanese researchers shows antimicrobial properties.  While Nihonium is expected to behave like Silver in its +1 oxidation state, it is unclear what its antimicrobial properties may be.
  • CSD refcode: ZAPDEC (What's this?)
  • Associated publication: Y. Takagi, Y. Okamoto, C. Inoue, N.C. Kasuga, K. Nomiya, Acta Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications, 2017, 73, 354, DOI: 10.1107/S2056989017001815

More info:

As a synthetic element with a very short half-life, there is not much information about Nihonium.  While it belongs to the same group as Boron, Alumiunum, Gallium, Indium and Thallium, it is expected that the +1 cation of Nihonium will behave more like silver.  For this entry, we chose a Silver(I) complex published by a team of Japanese researchers.  The Silver(I) complex has antimicrobial properties, though Nihonium(I) is not expected to be stable enough to form such complexes.  It is extremely radioactive, which may carry antimicrobial effects - though for a completely different reason!

More info about the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in crystals project:

This project (#IYPTCrystals) is part of the International Year of the Periodic Table celebration (#IYPT2019), read more about the project here. You can follow us on social media using #IYPTCrystals and learn more about the wonders of crystals by following the CCDC on Twitter @ccdc_cambridge on Facebook ccdc.cambridge, on Instagram ccdc_cambridge or on YouTube CCDCCambridge.

If you want to find out more about some of the terms and concepts we have a Frequently Asked Questions Page.

A visualisation showing the structure celebrating Nihonium alongside other structures published in the same scientific article: