A radionuclide is an atom that has excess nuclear energy, making it unstable. This excess energy can be used in one of three ways: emitted from the nucleus as gamma radiation. During those processes, the radionuclide is said to undergo radioactive decay; these emissions are considered ionizing radiation because they are powerful enough to liberate an electron from another atom. The radioactive decay can produce a stable nuclide or will sometimes produce a new unstable radionuclide which may undergo further decay. Radioactive decay is a random process at the level of single atoms: it is impossible to predict when one particular atom will decay. However, for a collection of atoms of a single element the decay rate, thus the half-life for that collection can be calculated from their measured decay constants; the range of the half-lives of radioactive atoms have no known limits and span a time range of over 55 orders of magnitude. Radionuclides occur or are artificially produced in nuclear reactors, particle accelerators or radionuclide generators.
There are about 730 radionuclides with half-lives longer than 60 minutes. Thirty-two of those are primordial radionuclides. At least another 60 radionuclides are detectable in nature, either as daughters of primordial radionuclides or as radionuclides produced through natural production on Earth by cosmic radiation. More than 2400 radionuclides have half-lives less than 60 minutes. Most of those are only produced artificially, have short half-lives. For comparison, there are about 253 stable nuclides. All chemical elements can exist as radionuclides; the lightest element, has a well-known radionuclide, tritium. Elements heavier than lead, the elements technetium and promethium, exist only as radionuclides. Unplanned exposure to radionuclides has a harmful effect on living organisms including humans, although low levels of exposure occur without harm; the degree of harm will depend on the nature and extent of the radiation produced, the amount and nature of exposure, the biochemical properties of the element.
However, radionuclides with suitable properties are used in nuclear medicine for both diagnosis and treatment. An imaging tracer made with radionuclides is called a radioactive tracer. A pharmaceutical drug made with radionuclides is called a radiopharmaceutical. On Earth occurring radionuclides fall into three categories: primordial radionuclides, secondary radionuclides, cosmogenic radionuclides. Radionuclides are produced in stellar nucleosynthesis and supernova explosions along with stable nuclides. Most decay but can still be observed astronomically and can play a part in understanding astronomic processes. Primordial radionuclides, such as uranium and thorium, exist in the present time because their half-lives are so long that they have not yet decayed; some radionuclides have half-lives so long that decay has only been detected, for most practical purposes they can be considered stable, most notably bismuth-209: detection of this decay meant that bismuth was no longer considered stable.
It is possible decay may be observed in other nuclides adding to this list of primordial radionuclides. Secondary radionuclides are radiogenic isotopes derived from the decay of primordial radionuclides, they have shorter half-lives than primordial radionuclides. They arise in the decay chain of the primordial isotopes thorium-232, uranium-238 and uranium-235. Examples include the natural isotopes of radium. Cosmogenic isotopes, such as carbon-14, are present because they are continually being formed in the atmosphere due to cosmic rays. Many of these radionuclides exist only in trace amounts in nature, including all cosmogenic nuclides. Secondary radionuclides will occur in proportion to their half-lives, so short-lived ones will be rare, thus polonium can be found in uranium ores at about 0.1 mg per metric ton. Further radionunclides may occur in nature in undetectable amounts as a result of rare events such as spontaneous fission or uncommon cosmic ray interactions. Radionuclides are produced as an unavoidable result of nuclear thermonuclear explosions.
The process of nuclear fission creates a wide range of fission products, most of which are radionuclides. Further radionuclides can be created from irradiation of the nuclear fuel and of the surrounding structures, yielding activation products; this complex mixture of radionuclides with different chemistries and radioactivity makes handling nuclear waste and dealing with nuclear fallout problematic. Synthetic radionuclides are deliberately synthesised using nuclear reactors, particle accelerators or radionuclide generators: As well as being extracted from nuclear waste, radioisotopes can be produced deliberately with nuclear reactors, exploiting the high flux of neutrons present; these neutrons activate elements placed within the reactor. A typical product from a nuclear reactor is iridium-
Isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element which differ in neutron number, in nucleon number. All isotopes of a given element have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in each atom; the term isotope is formed from the Greek roots isos and topos, meaning "the same place". It was coined by a Scottish doctor and writer Margaret Todd in 1913 in a suggestion to chemist Frederick Soddy; the number of protons within the atom's nucleus is called atomic number and is equal to the number of electrons in the neutral atom. Each atomic number identifies a specific element, but not the isotope; the number of nucleons in the nucleus is the atom's mass number, each isotope of a given element has a different mass number. For example, carbon-12, carbon-13, carbon-14 are three isotopes of the element carbon with mass numbers 12, 13, 14, respectively; the atomic number of carbon is 6, which means that every carbon atom has 6 protons, so that the neutron numbers of these isotopes are 6, 7, 8 respectively.
A nuclide is a species of an atom with a specific number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, for example carbon-13 with 6 protons and 7 neutrons. The nuclide concept emphasizes nuclear properties over chemical properties, whereas the isotope concept emphasizes chemical over nuclear; the neutron number has large effects on nuclear properties, but its effect on chemical properties is negligible for most elements. In the case of the lightest elements where the ratio of neutron number to atomic number varies the most between isotopes it has only a small effect, although it does matter in some circumstances; the term isotopes is intended to imply comparison, for example: the nuclides 126C, 136C, 146C are isotopes, but 4018Ar, 4019K, 4020Ca are isobars. However, because isotope is the older term, it is better known than nuclide, is still sometimes used in contexts where nuclide might be more appropriate, such as nuclear technology and nuclear medicine. An isotope and/or nuclide is specified by the name of the particular element followed by a hyphen and the mass number.
When a chemical symbol is used, e.g. "C" for carbon, standard notation is to indicate the mass number with a superscript at the upper left of the chemical symbol and to indicate the atomic number with a subscript at the lower left. Because the atomic number is given by the element symbol, it is common to state only the mass number in the superscript and leave out the atomic number subscript; the letter m is sometimes appended after the mass number to indicate a nuclear isomer, a metastable or energetically-excited nuclear state, for example 180m73Ta. The common pronunciation of the AZE notation is different from how it is written: 42He is pronounced as helium-four instead of four-two-helium, 23592U as uranium two-thirty-five or uranium-two-three-five instead of 235-92-uranium; some isotopes/nuclides are radioactive, are therefore referred to as radioisotopes or radionuclides, whereas others have never been observed to decay radioactively and are referred to as stable isotopes or stable nuclides.
For example, 14C is a radioactive form of carbon, whereas 12C and 13C are stable isotopes. There are about 339 occurring nuclides on Earth, of which 286 are primordial nuclides, meaning that they have existed since the Solar System's formation. Primordial nuclides include 32 nuclides with long half-lives and 253 that are formally considered as "stable nuclides", because they have not been observed to decay. In most cases, for obvious reasons, if an element has stable isotopes, those isotopes predominate in the elemental abundance found on Earth and in the Solar System. However, in the cases of three elements the most abundant isotope found in nature is one long-lived radioisotope of the element, despite these elements having one or more stable isotopes. Theory predicts that many "stable" isotopes/nuclides are radioactive, with long half-lives; some stable nuclides are in theory energetically susceptible to other known forms of decay, such as alpha decay or double beta decay, but no decay products have yet been observed, so these isotopes are said to be "observationally stable".
The predicted half-lives for these nuclides greatly exceed the estimated age of the universe, in fact there are 27 known radionuclides with half-lives longer than the age of the universe. Adding in the radioactive nuclides that have been created artificially, there are 3,339 known nuclides; these include 905 nuclides that are either stable or have half-lives
Aaldert Hendrik Wapstra was a Dutch physicist. Wapstra studied physics at Utrecht University and obtained his PhD with the dissertation Decay schemes of Pb209, Bi207 and Bi214 and the binding energies of the heavy nuclei at the University of Amsterdam in 1953, he became a full professor in 1955 at the department of experimental physics at the Technische Hogeschool, now the Technical University in Delft, Netherlands. On 18 March 1963 Wapstra entered the board of the IKO, now known as NIKHEF, as the scientific director of nuclear spectroscopy, he became the director in 1971, succeeding Van Lieshout, where he continued on until 1982. He retired in 1987. Wapstra is renowned for his work on the Atomic Mass Evaluation, in the beginning together with Josef Mattauch at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and on with his colleague Georges Audi at Université de Paris-Sud. For this work he obtained the SUNAMCO medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in September 2004. Wapstra, Aaldert H..
"Isotopic Masses I. A < 34". Physica. 21: 367. Bibcode:1955Phy....21..796W. Doi:10.1016/S0031-891492065-6. Wapstra, Aaldert H.. "Isotopic Masses II. 33 < A < 202". Physica. 21: 385. Bibcode:1955Phy....21..796W. Doi:10.1016/S0031-891492065-6. Everling, Friedrich. "The 1977 atomic mass evaluation: in four parts". Atomic Data and Nuclear Data Tables. 19: 175. Bibcode:1977ADNDT..19..175W. Doi:10.1016/0092-640X90019-5. Audi, Georges. "The 1995 Update to the Atomic Mass Evaluation". Nuclear Physics A. 595: 409. Bibcode:1995NuPhA.595..409A. Doi:10.1016/0375-947400445-9. Audi, Georges. "The NUBASE evaluation of nuclear and decay properties". Nuclear Physics A. 624: 1–124. Bibcode:1997NuPhA.624....1A. Doi:10.1016/S0375-947400482-X. Archived from the original on 2008-09-23. Wapstra, Aaldert Hendrik. "The AME2003 atomic mass evaluation. Evaluation of input data, adjustment procedures". Nuclear Physics A. 729: 129. Bibcode:2003NuPhA.729..129W. Doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2003.11.002. Audi, Georges. "The AME2003 atomic mass evaluation. Tables and references".
Nuclear Physics A. 729: 337. Bibcode:2003NuPhA.729..337A. Doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2003.11.003. Audi, Georges. Evaluation of input data, adjustment procedures, Chinese Physics C36, 1287 Wang, Meng. Tables and references, Chinese Physics C36, 1603 Obituary
A proton is a subatomic particle, symbol p or p+, with a positive electric charge of +1e elementary charge and a mass less than that of a neutron. Protons and neutrons, each with masses of one atomic mass unit, are collectively referred to as "nucleons". One or more protons are present in the nucleus of every atom; the number of protons in the nucleus is the defining property of an element, is referred to as the atomic number. Since each element has a unique number of protons, each element has its own unique atomic number; the word proton is Greek for "first", this name was given to the hydrogen nucleus by Ernest Rutherford in 1920. In previous years, Rutherford had discovered that the hydrogen nucleus could be extracted from the nuclei of nitrogen by atomic collisions. Protons were therefore a candidate to be a fundamental particle, hence a building block of nitrogen and all other heavier atomic nuclei. In the modern Standard Model of particle physics, protons are hadrons, like neutrons, the other nucleon, are composed of three quarks.
Although protons were considered fundamental or elementary particles, they are now known to be composed of three valence quarks: two up quarks of charge +2/3e and one down quark of charge –1/3e. The rest masses of quarks contribute only about 1% of a proton's mass, however; the remainder of a proton's mass is due to quantum chromodynamics binding energy, which includes the kinetic energy of the quarks and the energy of the gluon fields that bind the quarks together. Because protons are not fundamental particles, they possess a physical size, though not a definite one. At sufficiently low temperatures, free protons will bind to electrons. However, the character of such bound protons does not change, they remain protons. A fast proton moving through matter will slow by interactions with electrons and nuclei, until it is captured by the electron cloud of an atom; the result is a protonated atom, a chemical compound of hydrogen. In vacuum, when free electrons are present, a sufficiently slow proton may pick up a single free electron, becoming a neutral hydrogen atom, chemically a free radical.
Such "free hydrogen atoms" tend to react chemically with many other types of atoms at sufficiently low energies. When free hydrogen atoms react with each other, they form neutral hydrogen molecules, which are the most common molecular component of molecular clouds in interstellar space. Protons are composed of three valence quarks, making them baryons; the two up quarks and one down quark of a proton are held together by the strong force, mediated by gluons. A modern perspective has a proton composed of the valence quarks, the gluons, transitory pairs of sea quarks. Protons have a positive charge distribution which decays exponentially, with a mean square radius of about 0.8 fm. Protons and neutrons are both nucleons, which may be bound together by the nuclear force to form atomic nuclei; the nucleus of the most common isotope of the hydrogen atom is a lone proton. The nuclei of the heavy hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium contain one proton bound to one and two neutrons, respectively. All other types of atomic nuclei are composed of two or more protons and various numbers of neutrons.
The concept of a hydrogen-like particle as a constituent of other atoms was developed over a long period. As early as 1815, William Prout proposed that all atoms are composed of hydrogen atoms, based on a simplistic interpretation of early values of atomic weights, disproved when more accurate values were measured. In 1886, Eugen Goldstein discovered canal rays and showed that they were positively charged particles produced from gases. However, since particles from different gases had different values of charge-to-mass ratio, they could not be identified with a single particle, unlike the negative electrons discovered by J. J. Thomson. Wilhelm Wien in 1898 identified the hydrogen ion as particle with highest charge-to-mass ratio in ionized gases. Following the discovery of the atomic nucleus by Ernest Rutherford in 1911, Antonius van den Broek proposed that the place of each element in the periodic table is equal to its nuclear charge; this was confirmed experimentally by Henry Moseley in 1913 using X-ray spectra.
In 1917, Rutherford proved that the hydrogen nucleus is present in other nuclei, a result described as the discovery of protons. Rutherford had earlier learned to produce hydrogen nuclei as a type of radiation produced as a product of the impact of alpha particles on nitrogen gas, recognize them by their unique penetration signature in air and their appearance in scintillation detectors; these experiments were begun when Rutherford had noticed that, when alpha particles were shot into air, his scintillation detectors showed the signatures of typical hydrogen nuclei as a product. After experimentation Rutherford traced the reaction to the nitrogen in air, found that when alphas were produced into pure nitrogen gas, the effect was larger. Rutherford determined that this hydrogen could have come only from the nitrogen, therefore nitrogen must contain hydrogen nuclei. One hydrogen nucleus was being knocked off by the impact of the alpha particle, producing oxygen-17 in the process; this was 14N + α → 17O + p.
(This reaction wo
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory located in Upton, New York, on Long Island, was formally established in 1947 at the site of Camp Upton, a former U. S. Army base, its name stems from its location within the Town of Brookhaven 60 miles east of New York City. Research at BNL specializes in nuclear and high energy physics, energy science and technology and bioscience, nanoscience and national security; the 5,300 acre campus contains several large research facilities, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and National Synchrotron Light Source II. Seven Nobel prizes have been awarded for work conducted at Brookhaven lab. BNL is staffed by 2,750 scientists, engineers and support personnel, hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year; the laboratory has its own police station, fire department, ZIP code. In total, the lab spans a 5,265-acre area, coterminous with the hamlet of Upton, New York. BNL is served by a rail spur operated as-needed by the New Atlantic Railway.
Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York, forecast office of the National Weather Service. Although conceived as a nuclear research facility, Brookhaven Lab's mission has expanded, its foci are now: Nuclear and high-energy physics Physics and chemistry of materials Environmental and climate research Nanomaterials Energy research Nonproliferation Structural biology Accelerator physics Brookhaven National Lab was owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and is now owned by that agency's successor, the United States Department of Energy. DOE subcontracts the operation to universities and research organizations, it is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, an equal partnership of Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute. From 1947 to 1998, it was operated by Associated Universities, Inc. but AUI lost its contract in the wake of two incidents: a 1994 fire at the facility's high-beam flux reactor that exposed several workers to radiation and reports in 1997 of a tritium leak into the groundwater of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens on which the facility sits.
Following World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission was created to support government-sponsored peacetime research on atomic energy. The effort to build a nuclear reactor in the American northeast was fostered by physicists Isidor Isaac Rabi and Norman Foster Ramsey Jr. who during the war witnessed many of their colleagues at Columbia University leave for new remote research sites following the departure of the Manhattan Project from its campus. Their effort to house this reactor near New York City was rivalled by a similar effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to have a facility near Boston. Involvement was solicited from representatives of northeastern universities to the south and west of New York City such that this city would be at their geographic center. In March 1946 a nonprofit corporation was established that consisted of representatives from nine major research universities — Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Yale University.
Out of 17 considered sites in the Boston-Washington corridor, Camp Upton on Long Island was chosen as the most suitable in consideration of space and availability. The camp had been a training center from the US Army during both World War I and World War II. After the latter war, Camp Upton became available for reuse. A plan was conceived to convert the military camp into a research facility. On March 21, 1947, the Camp Upton site was transferred from the U. S. War Department to the new U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to the U. S. Department of Energy. In 1947 construction began on the first nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor; this reactor, which opened in 1950, was the first reactor to be constructed in the United States after World War II. The High Flux Beam Reactor operated from 1965 to 1999. In 1959 Brookhaven built the first US reactor tailored to medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, which operated until 2000. In 1952 Brookhaven began using the Cosmotron.
At the time the Cosmotron was the world's highest energy accelerator, being the first to impart more than 1 GeV of energy to a particle. The Cosmotron was retired in 1966, after it was superseded in 1960 by the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron; the AGS was used in research that resulted in 3 Nobel prizes, including the discovery of the muon neutrino, the charm quark, CP violation. In 1970 in BNL started the ISABELLE project to develop and build two proton intersecting storage rings; the groundbreaking for the project was in October 1978. In 1981, with the tunnel for the accelerator excavated, problems with the superconducting magnets needed for the ISABELLE accelerator brought the project to a halt, the project was cancelled in 1983; the National Synchrotron Light Source operated from 1982 to 2014 and was involved with two Nobel Prize-winning discoveries. It has since been replaced by the National Synchrotron Light Source II. After ISABELLE'S cancellation, physicist at BNL proposed that the excavated tunnel and parts of the magnet assembly be used in another accelerator.
In 1984 the first proposal for the accelerator now known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider was put forward. The construction got funded in 1991and RHIC has been operational since 2000. One of the world's only two operating heavy-ion colliders, RHIC is as of 2010 the second-highest
The neutron is a subatomic particle, symbol n or n0, with no net electric charge and a mass larger than that of a proton. Protons and neutrons constitute the nuclei of atoms. Since protons and neutrons behave within the nucleus, each has a mass of one atomic mass unit, they are both referred to as nucleons, their properties and interactions are described by nuclear physics. The chemical and nuclear properties of the nucleus are determined by the number of protons, called the atomic number, the number of neutrons, called the neutron number; the atomic mass number is the total number of nucleons. For example, carbon has atomic number 6, its abundant carbon-12 isotope has 6 neutrons, whereas its rare carbon-13 isotope has 7 neutrons; some elements occur in nature with only one stable isotope, such as fluorine. Other elements occur with many stable isotopes, such as tin with ten stable isotopes. Within the nucleus and neutrons are bound together through the nuclear force. Neutrons are required for the stability of nuclei, with the exception of the single-proton hydrogen atom.
Neutrons are produced copiously in nuclear fusion. They are a primary contributor to the nucleosynthesis of chemical elements within stars through fission and neutron capture processes; the neutron is essential to the production of nuclear power. In the decade after the neutron was discovered by James Chadwick in 1932, neutrons were used to induce many different types of nuclear transmutations. With the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938, it was realized that, if a fission event produced neutrons, each of these neutrons might cause further fission events, etc. in a cascade known as a nuclear chain reaction. These events and findings led to the first self-sustaining nuclear reactor and the first nuclear weapon. Free neutrons, while not directly ionizing atoms, cause ionizing radiation; as such they can be a biological hazard, depending upon dose. A small natural "neutron background" flux of free neutrons exists on Earth, caused by cosmic ray showers, by the natural radioactivity of spontaneously fissionable elements in the Earth's crust.
Dedicated neutron sources like neutron generators, research reactors and spallation sources produce free neutrons for use in irradiation and in neutron scattering experiments. An atomic nucleus is formed by a number of protons, Z, a number of neutrons, N, bound together by the nuclear force; the atomic number defines the chemical properties of the atom, the neutron number determines the isotope or nuclide. The terms isotope and nuclide are used synonymously, but they refer to chemical and nuclear properties, respectively. Speaking, isotopes are two or more nuclides with the same number of protons; the atomic mass number, symbol A, equals Z+N. Nuclides with the same atomic mass number are called isobars; the nucleus of the most common isotope of the hydrogen atom is a lone proton. The nuclei of the heavy hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium contain one proton bound to one and two neutrons, respectively. All other types of atomic nuclei are composed of two or more protons and various numbers of neutrons.
The most common nuclide of the common chemical element lead, 208Pb, has 82 protons and 126 neutrons, for example. The table of nuclides comprises all the known nuclides. Though it is not a chemical element, the neutron is included in this table; the free neutron has 1.674927471 × 10 − 27 kg, or 1.00866491588 u. The neutron has a mean square radius of about 0.8×10−15 m, or 0.8 fm, it is a spin-½ fermion. The neutron has no measurable electric charge. With its positive electric charge, the proton is directly influenced by electric fields, whereas the neutron is unaffected by electric fields; the neutron has a magnetic moment, however. The neutron's magnetic moment has a negative value, because its orientation is opposite to the neutron's spin. A free neutron is unstable, decaying to a proton and antineutrino with a mean lifetime of just under 15 minutes; this radioactive decay, known as beta decay, is possible because the mass of the neutron is greater than the proton. The free proton is stable. Neutrons or protons bound in a nucleus can be stable or unstable, depending on the nuclide.
Beta decay, in which neutrons decay to protons, or vice versa, is governed by the weak force, it requires the emission or absorption of electrons and neutrinos, or their antiparticles. Protons and neutrons behave identically under the influence of the nuclear force within the nucleus; the concept of isospin, in which the proton and neutron are viewed as two quantum states of the same particle, is used to model the interactions of nucleons by the nuclear or weak forces. Because of the strength of the nuclear force at short distances, the binding energy of nucleons is more than seven orders of magnitude larger than the electromagnetic energy binding electrons in atoms. Nuclear reactions therefore have an energy density, more than ten million times that of chemical reactions; because of the mass–energy equivalence, nuclear binding energies reduce the mass of nuclei. The ability of the nuclear force to store energy arising from the electromagnetic repulsion of nuclear components is the basis for most of the energy that makes nuclear reactors or bombs possible.
In nuclear fission, the absorption of a neutron by a heavy nuclide causes the nuclide to become unstable and break into light nuclides and additional neu