List of fictional elements, materials, isotopes and atomic particles
This list contains fictional chemical elements, materials, isotopes or (sub)atomic particles that either a) play a major role in a notable work of fiction, b) are common to several unrelated works, or c) are discussed in detail by independent sources.
Fictional elements and materials
|Adamant / Adamantine||Greek Mythology||As a noun adamant has long been used to designate any impenetrably or unyieldingly hard substance and, formerly, a legendary stone/rock or mineral of impenetrable hardness and with many other properties, often identified with diamond or lodestone. The English word is used both as a noun and an adjective and is derived from the Latin: adamans, adamantem [accusative] referring to the property of impregnable, diamondlike hardness, or to describe a very firm/resolute position, itself from the Greek word adamastos meaning untameable. Diamond is also derived from the same word. Adamant and the literary form adamantine (utilising the suffix -ine meaning 'of the nature of' or 'made of') occur in many works. In mythology Kronos was said to have used an adamantine sickle to castrate his father Uranus; in Prometheus Bound, Prometheus is bound to the rocks "in adamantine bonds infrangible", in Virgil's Aeneid (in which the gates of Tartarus are protected by columns of solid adamantine)  and in Paradise Lost, in which adamant and adamantine are mentioned eight times to describe the gates of hell, Satan's shield, fallen angel's armour and Satan's chains. In fiction Adamant is referred to in The Faerie Queene, Gulliver's Travels, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Lord of the Rings, His Dark Materials trilogy, and the games Final Fantasy and RuneScape and many more besides. Adamantine is referred to in the film Forbidden Planet (as "adamantine steel"), in many books such as Mary Shelley's Mathilda, and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, as well as many games including Dungeons and Dragons. The word adamant is used as the basis for other fictional materials such as Adamantium (see below), Adamantite (see below), Adamantle (from the Sims), and Adiamante (from L. E. Modesitt Jr.'s 1996 novel of the same name).|
World of Warcraft
|A metal ore that appears in a number of fictional universes. In Final Fantasy it is a material used to create armour, its source being from another world and its properties including being able to contain great amounts of energy. In World of Warcraft, it is an uncommon ore used to produce weapons and armour of uncommon, rare and epic grade. In the Dark Elf books by Salvatore set in the Dungeons and Dragons universe it is used to create drow weaponry. It is also used for armour in The Elder Scrolls III, and in the game Terraria it is a red ore used to produce armour and other items besides. The word is an extension of the English noun and adjective adamant (see entry above) adding the suffix '-ite' which is often used to form the names of minerals.|
|Adamantium||Marvel Comics||A fictional metal alloy that appears in the Marvel Universe, first appearing in Marvel Comics' Avengers #66 (July 1969), by writer Roy Thomas and artists Barry Windsor-Smith and Syd Shores. Although it is first presented as part of the character Ultron's outer shell it is best known as the substance bonded to the character Wolverine's skeleton and claws. The defining quality of adamantium is its practical indestructibility. Adamantium is not depicted as being a naturally occurring metal but rather as having been inadvertently invented by the fictional American metallurgist Dr. Myron MacLain in an attempt to recreate his prior discovery, a unique alloy of steel and vibranium. Despite its potential applications in armament and armature, adamantium is rarely used due to its high cost and inability to be reshaped. Other forms of adamantium of varying durability are mentioned within the Marvel Universe including Secondary Adamantium, Adamantium Beta and Carbonadium. Aside from Ultron's outer shell and Wolverine's skeleton and claws, Adamantium is associated with a number of other characters and implements including but not limited to Bullseye's spinal column, certain iterations of Captain America's shield and Lady Deathstrike's skeleton and talons. The word is an extension of the English noun and adjective adamant (see entry above) adding the Neo-Latin '-ium' to denote a metallic name. Adamantium is also used in the Games Workshop universe of Warhammer 40000 and the MMORPG Maplestory.|
|Australium||Valve Corporation||An extremely valuable element appearing in the Team Fortress 2 series by Valve Corporation. In-game, it appears as a special type of weapon, and as the fuel for the rocket in the map SD_Doomsday in the Special Delivery game mode. In the bonus comics featured on the Team Fortress website, their role is fleshed out more; The Life-Extending machines used by The Administrator, Blutarch, Redmond, and Gray Mann are powered by Australium, and a large part of the plot revolves around hiding the vast stores of Australium  Their role in the story is that the material, found in Australia, hence the name Australium, makes one smarter over time, but at the cost of increasing 'manliness and beard levels' in those who use it. As mentioned above, the name comes from the country of Australia and the Neo-Latin '-ium' used to denote a metallic name.|
|Bombastium||Disney||Originally appearing in Uncle Scrooge #17 (1957) by Carl Barks, Bombastium is stated to be the rarest element in the world. Even though it is very coveted, its usage potential is not entirely known. One characteristic is that it tastes different every time you try it, and scientists eventually discovered that one atom of bombastium dropped into a barrel of water becomes one barrel of ice cream: a different flavor of ice cream each time. To avoid evaporation, bombastium must be kept frozen. In the story, when this totally new element was discovered the Mallard Magnate tries to secure the entire supply – a ball of “Bombastium” approximately the size of a large turnip. Terrified that his acquisition will melt before he can make a profit Scrooge drags Donald Duck and his nephews on a voyage to the South Pole to safeguard his investment but has not reckoned on the ruthless determination of the Brutopian agents he outbid to achieve it. Bombastium represents a play on words (bomb and bombastic) that negotiates Cold War hysteria surrounding the arms race and the threat of Armageddon provoked by the development of the H-bomb. Barks's tale is also grounded in fears. The substance is later used in the Duck Tales series.|
|Byzanium||Raise the Titanic!||Byzanium is a fictional element within the book Raise the Titanic! and its film adaptation, which serves as a main focus of the story arc. It is a powerful radioactive material sought after by both the Americans and Russians for use as either an energy source for a missile defense system or atomic super bomb. The largest known natural source of Byzanium was on the island of Novaya Zemlya, which was mined in the early 20th Century and supposedly taken aboard the ill fated RMS Titanic during her first and only voyage.|
|Cobalt Thorium G||Dr. Strangelove, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot||In Dr. Strangelove it is an element used in the Russians' doomsday device. Both (real) elements Cobalt and Thorium can be used in atomic weapons to increase the amount of dangerous nuclear fallout, which agrees with the sense in which "Cobalt Thorium G" is used in the movie.
In the "Wages of Fire" episode of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, it is revealed that the BGY-11 is powered by a Cobalt Thorium G power core.
|Chronoton||Star Trek, Futurama, Teen Titans, Jets 'N' Guns, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers||From Greek: Χρόνος (Chronos, "time") + -ον (on, "elementary particle"). Alternate spellings: "chroniton." Associated with manipulating or traveling through time in Star Trek, as well as in Futurama, where it also has rejuvenation effects. A chronoton bomb in Teen Titans destroys chronotons in a given area, stopping that area's progression through time. A "chroniton rifle" is the most powerful weapon in Jets 'N' Guns.|
|Collapsium||The Terro-Human Future History, The Collapsium||Collapsium was first mentioned by H. Beam Piper in his Terro-Human Future History series. Piper describes it as "the electron shells of the atoms collapsed upon the nuclei, the atoms in actual contact." Collapsium can only be worked by abrasion with cosmic rays. It is resistant to both ordinary matter projectiles and all forms of radiation, and can be plated on to ordinary steel to form a protective layer. The main use for collapsium is as armor for spacecraft.
A different version of collapsium appeared in Wil McCarthy's novel The Collapsium. McCarthy's collapsium is composed of black holes and can be used to warp space and time in accordance with the wishes of its inventor.
|Dilithium (Star Trek)||Star Trek||Although dilithium (Li2) does exist as a molecule composed of two covalently bonded lithium atoms a different substance is referred to in fiction. In the Star Trek fictional universe, dilithium is a material occurring in crystalline form which serves as an controlling agent in the faster-than-light warp drive. In the original series, dilithium crystals were rare and could not be replicated, making the search for them a recurring plot element. It has been noted that when the crystals appeared in the original series they looked much like petalite, an important ore of lithium. The use of the name dilithium has led to speculation as to whether it is meant to be an isotope of lithium or a compound with two lithium atoms. However, according to a periodic table shown during a Next Generation episode, it is shown as an element with the chemical symbol Dt and the atomic number 87, which in reality belongs to Francium.|
|Element Zero||Mass Effect||Found in the systems of dying stars, this material is used to generate the mass effect fields of many technologies in the Mass Effect universe. Applying a positive or negative charge to this substance reduces or increases the mass of any objects within the emission field. Also found in organics, and the source of biotic abilities. Nodules forming throughout the bodies of most species, such as the Asari. Introduced into human species via alleged experiments by a shadowy government agency.|
|Harbenite||Tarzan at the Earth's Core||Appears in Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Tarzan at the Earth's Core Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1930). Tarzan at the Earths Core. New York, NY: Metropolitan Books. p. 301.[ISBN unspecified] Harbenite, named after its discoverer, Dr. von Harben, is a metal found in the fictional Urambi country Africa and described as lighter than cork and stronger than steel. Harbenite was used to build the O-220, a dirigible airship constructed for a rescue mission to the earth's core in response to a radio distress call from David Innes and Abner Perry, the original discoverers of the inner world of Pellucidar in the novel At the Earth's Core (novel).|
|Ice-nine||Cat's Cradle||A more stable polymorph of water than common ice (Ice Ih), which instead of melting when above 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit), melts only when the temperature is 45.8 °C (114.4 °F). When ice-nine comes into contact with liquid water below 45.8 °C, it acts as a seed crystal, and causes the solidification of the entire body of water, which quickly crystallizes as more ice-nine.|
|Kryptonite||DC Comics||A crystalline material, originally in various colors with separate effects, harmful to Kryptonians and created during the destruction of Superman's home planet Krypton; synthesis is also possible. John Byrne's retcon of the DC Comics universe established green kryptonite as a compound and later issues had experiments by Batman and Luthor reestablish the Pre-Crisis versions of red, blue, and gold. Kryptonite has been found in the real world (according to its chemical composition) and has none of the properties or color variations of fictional kryptonite. However, DC Comics had previously described kryptonite as an alien element with a higher atomic number than known Earth elements.|
|Mithril||Middle-earth, Dungeons & Dragons,The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, RuneScape, Golden Sun, Terraria, World of Warcraft, Clash of Kingdoms, MapleStory, Guild Wars 2||Originally described in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, mithril is a durable silvery metal that is very light and extremely strong. Mithril means "grey gleam", but is translated as "true silver". It was mined in native form in Moria. It can also be worked into other forms with unusual properties such as reflecting only the light of the Moon.The fictional metal has expanded to be included in various other fantasy universes, games, and books. "Mythril" appears in the video game series Final Fantasy. Also, "Mithral" is used in D&D books and "Milrith" in Simon the Sorcerer. In the Warhammer world, the High Elven metal "Ithilmar" has similar properties and usage. In RuneScape it is a lightweight blue metal stronger than steel. In World of Warcraft, Mithril is a silvery-white mid level mineral, that can be mined as an ore and smelted into a bar using the mining profession. In Defense of the Ancients, the multiplayer online battle arena version of Warcraft, players can purchase the Mithril Hammer from the Main Shop. "Mithral" is also featured in the Dungeon Master series. It appears in armor form in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. It also appears as a cyan metal used to make armor and weapons in MapleStory. Mithril is also depicted as a light green metal used to craft armor and weapons in Terraria.|
|Octiron||Discworld||A strange, iridescent metal that is highly valued. It radiates dangerous amounts of raw enchantment and is so unstable it can only exist in a universe saturated with raw magic.|
|Orichalcum||Mythology (Atlantis), Fate of Atlantis, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Exalted, Irregular Webcomic!, Star Ocean, Final Fantasy (various), Poseidon: Master of Atlantis, Age of Mythology: The Titans, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, MapleStory, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, Guild Wars 2, Terraria, Kingdom Hearts||A metallic pink or red colored metal mined in Atlantis; another name for it is mountain copper. May be based on Auricupride. Used to power machinery in Atlantis in the Indiana Jones adventure game. In the Exalted setting Orichalcum is the strongest of the five magical materials and can be made by distilling ordinary gold using Gaia's blood (Magma) and concentrating sunlight using large occult mirrors. Found in Final Fantasy as a rare material with varying properties. In the Soul Calibur series, Sophitia has a sword and shield set named Orichalcum. Used in smithing to craft Orcish weapons and armor in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. In Maplestory it is a fuchsia metal used to craft armors and items. In Shadowrun, orichalcum is a magical alloy of gold, silver, mercury, and copper. Also named "Orichalcon" in some games. Orichalcum is depicted as a purple metal in Terraria and is used to make weapons, armor, and different walls and blocks.|
|Polydenum||OtherSpace||A metallic, radioactive, explosive element found in some planetary cores that is mined and refined to become the main fuel for starship sub-light engines in the OtherSpace multiverse, as well as a potent explosive. Never to be mistaken for Molybdenum.|
|Quadium||The Mouse That Roared by Leonard Wibberley||Also known as H4, quadium is a particle that is so highly unstable as to make it effectively non-existent, although attempts have been made to isolate it. A fictional stable version of this isotope played a prominent role in the 1955 satirical novel The Mouse That Roared. In that novel it is a fissionable element with an explosive potential many times greater than plutonium. Quadium is discovered by Dr. Kokintz who uses it to build the "Q-Bomb", a doomsday device capable of destroying all life on earth. A madcap series of events results in the Q-Bomb being captured by the anachronisticly medieval army of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick turning this tiny and technologically backward European country into the most powerful nation on Earth. Grand Fenwick then uses the threat of the Q-Bomb to force the Nuclear powers to accept a nuclear disarmament agreement. In the end Dr. Kokintz discovers the Q-Bomb is actually a dud, but decides it is in the best interest of humanity to keep this fact a secret.|
|Radium X||The Invisible Ray||Radium X was an intensively radioactive extraterrestrial element discovered by Dr. Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff) in the 1936 film the The Invisible Ray. In the film, Dr. Rukh creates a death beam projector which harnesses the incredible power of Radium X for use as a destructive weapon of mass terror. Interestingly, Radium X also had healing powers. In a memorable scene, Rukh restores the sight of his blind mother (Violet Kemble Cooper) with the Radium X projector after developing a filter to curb its destructive effects. According to legend, this scene inspired John Lawrence (the younger brother of physicist Ernest Lawrence) to use radiation on his mother—who had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the uterus. Not to be confused of the real life Radium.|
|Rearden Metal||Atlas Shrugged||Rearden Metal is a greenish-blue alloy invented by Hank Rearden. Lighter and stronger than traditional steel, it is to steel what steel was to iron. Among its ingredients are iron and copper, two metals seldom found together in real-world structural alloys.|
|Redstone||Minecraft||Redstone is a material that can be found in the award winning sandbox independent video game Minecraft. Redstone has been described as "perhaps the biggest stroke of genious in Minecraft". This material serves as in-game wiring, allowing players to lay down logic circuitry that controls pistons, minecarts and other dynamic elements in the game and can be crafted into various mechanical objects.|
|Timonium||Stardust series, Liaden universe, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends||In the Liaden universe, the planet Surebleak[clarification needed] was at one time a mining center for timonium before large amounts were discovered in another nearby star system. Timonium is a radioactive element used as an internal powersource for high tech devices.|
|Unobtanium||Aerospace term ||A substance having the exact properties required for a piece of hardware or other item of use, but not obtainable either because it theoretically cannot exist, geopolitical events preclude access to it, or because current technological limitations prevent its manufacture.
Unobtanium is also the mineral being sought on Pandora by brute-force mining methods in the film Avatar.
|Vibranium||Marvel Comics||A fictional metal that appears in the Marvel Universe, first appearing in Daredevil #13 (February 1966), by writer Stan Lee and artist John Romita. It is a rare, naturally occurring metallic substance theorized to be of extraterrestrial origin. It is most commonly known as one of the materials used to construct Captain America's shield, but it is also noted for its connection to the Black Panther and his native homeland of Wakanda (a fictional country in Africa). It exists in two forms: the Wakandan variety, is native only to the small African nation of Wakanda. This isotope possesses the ability to absorb all vibrations in the vicinity as well as kinetic energy directed at it. The energy absorbed is stored within the bonds between the molecules that make up the substance. As a result, the more energy vibranium absorbs the tougher it becomes. This variety of vibranium is a powerful mutagen. The Antarctic variety, better known as Anti-Metal, is an isotope native to the Savage Land, producing vibrations of a specific wavelength that break down the molecular bonds in other metals.|
|Wishalloy||Aerospace term ||An alternative to unobtainium, possibly indicating that the substance in question is theoretically impossible according to known scientific theory. Historically Scramjets have been described[by whom?] as being made from unobtainium reinforced wishalloy.|
|Xirdalium||The Chase of the Golden Meteor||An element which is, in the French first edition of the novel, about a hundred thousand times more radioactive than radium. In the English first edition this has been reduced to a hundred times. Xirdalium was invented by Jules Verne's son Michel, who introduced it to the novel, together with the character Zephyrin Xirdal, a 'private genius' who synthesized the new element. In the story Xirdal then uses Xirdalium in a contraption emitting a strong tractor beam able to alter the trajectory of the meteor mentioned in the novel's title.|
|Xithricite||Vendetta Online||A bright green mineral used to produce incredibly strong alloys originally discovered by explorers from the Neutral Territories. References to it are found throughout the game's item descriptions and is used in everything from spaceship hulls to railgun ammunition. Ore containing Xithricite can be mined from asteroids by players.|
Fictional isotopes of real elements
|80Ir||Iridium||Riptide||According to the book, one second of direct exposure is equivalent to a lethal dose, with a reading of 3217.89 Rads/hr from 15 metres away. The blade of St. Michael's sword was forged from it.||80Ir does not exist; the lightest known isotope is 164Ir.|
|186Pu||Plutonium||The Gods Themselves||An isotope of plutonium which is too unstable to exist in our universe but which exists naturally in fictional parallel universes whose strong nuclear forces are more intense. This is utilised as a source of energy where it is turned into 186W, releasing electrons in the process.||The description of this isotope is entirely correct; the lightest known isotope of plutonium is 228Pu.|
|Quantium||any element, but most commonly potassium||Babylon 5||This rare and expensive substance used in jumpgates is formed when ordinary matter is subjected to the stresses of a supernova, pushing some of its electron pair-bonds into hyperspace. The most commonly found form is derived from 40K, giving quantium-40. The name was coined by David Strauss in response to a request from the show's creator.||40K is a naturally occurring isotope of potassium which is used to date rocks. However, the method of obtaining quantium as described has not been demonstrated in real life.|
Fictional subatomic particles
|Dust||His Dark Materials||An elementary particle that is the basic unit of consciousness. Not a constant, but is generated by and confers sentience on animals in a positive feedback loop; in the context of humans, the human brain is a focusing mechanism for Dust. The more conscious the entity, the more Dust is around them. Permeates all universes and passes among dimensions.|
|Philote||Ender's Game series||The smallest possible particle, occupying no space at all. All philotes are interconnected through quantum entanglement, and philotic energy can be harnessed to allow for instantaneous communication and near-instantaneous travel to anywhere in the universe.|
|Reson||Discworld||The constitute particle of the Thaum. Its name literally means "thing-ies". It comes in 5 "flavors" or types: Up, Down, Sideways, Sex-Appeal and Peppermint.|
|Tachyon||Numerous examples in sci-fi; see Tachyons in fiction||A tachyon is any hypothetical particle that travels faster than light. In many fictional settings it is taken that this involves travelling through time and they are invoked as an integral part of, or even shorthand for, time travel devices.|
|Thaum||Discworld||The basic unit of magical strength, it is the amount of magic needed to create one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls. The Thaum has been shown to be made up of Resons in the Unseen Universities High Energy Magic Building.|
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«Ceci, Messieurs, disait-il, c’est du Xirdalium, corps cent mille fois plus radioactif que le radium. J’avouerai, entre nous, que, si j’utilise ce corps, c’est un peu pour la galerie. Ce n’est pas qu’il soit nuisible, mais la terre rayonne assez d’énergie pour qu’il soit superflu de lui en ajouter. C’est un grain de sel dans la mer. Toutefois, une légère mise en scène ne messied pas, à mon sens, dans une expérience de cette nature.»
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„This, gentlemen.“ he said, „is Xirdalium, a body a hundred times more radio-active than radium. I am willing to own you that, if I utilize this body, it is more for show. Not that it is deleterious; but the earth radiates enough energy for me to do without adding more. It is a grain of salt thrown into the sea. Still, a little display is not unbecoming, methinks, in an experiment of this nature.“
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To Verne’s seventeen chapters Michel added four more. He created a dominant new character, Zephyrin Xirdal, who in effect takes over the action and the outcome.
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