Copernicium is a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Cn and atomic number 112. Its known isotopes are extremely radioactive, and have only been created in a laboratory. The most stable known isotope, copernicium-285, has a half-life of approximately 30 seconds. Copernicium was first created in 1996 by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research near Darmstadt, Germany. It was named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.
In the periodic table of the elements, copernicium is a d-block transactinide element and a group 12 element. During reactions with gold, it has been shown to be an extremely volatile element, so much so that it is possibly a gas or a volatile liquid at standard temperature and pressure.
Copernicium is calculated to have several properties that differ from its lighter homologues in group 12, zinc, cadmium and mercury; due to relativistic effects, it may give up its 6d electrons instead of its 7s ones, and it may have more similarities to the noble gases such as radon rather than its group 12 homologues. Calculations indicate that copernicium may show the oxidation state +4, while mercury shows it in only one compound of disputed existence and zinc and cadmium do not show it at all. It has also been predicted to be more difficult to oxidize copernicium from its neutral state than the other group 12 elements. Predictions vary on whether solid copernicium would be a metal, semiconductor, or insulator. Copernicium is one of the heaviest elements whose chemical properties have been experimentally investigated.