The nuclear force is a force that acts between the protons and neutrons of atoms. Neutrons and protons, both nucleons, are affected by the nuclear force identically. Since protons have charge +1 e, they experience an electric force that tends to push them apart, but at short range the attractive nuclear force is strong enough to overcome the electromagnetic force; the nuclear force binds nucleons into atomic nuclei. The nuclear force is powerfully attractive between nucleons at distances of about 1 femtometre, but it decreases to insignificance at distances beyond about 2.5 fm. At distances less than 0.7 fm, the nuclear force becomes repulsive. This repulsive component is responsible for the physical size of nuclei, since the nucleons can come no closer than the force allows. By comparison, the size of an atom, measured in angstroms, is five orders of magnitude larger; the nuclear force is not simple, since it depends on the nucleon spins, has a tensor component, may depend on the relative momentum of the nucleons.
The strong nuclear force is one of the fundamental forces of nature. The nuclear force plays an essential role in storing energy, used in nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Work is required to bring charged protons together against their electric repulsion; this energy is stored when the protons and neutrons are bound together by the nuclear force to form a nucleus. The mass of a nucleus is less than the sum total of the individual masses of the protons and neutrons; the difference in masses is known as the mass defect, which can be expressed as an energy equivalent. Energy is released; this energy is the electromagnetic potential energy, released when the nuclear force no longer holds the charged nuclear fragments together. A quantitative description of the nuclear force relies on equations that are empirical; these equations model the internucleon potential energies, or potentials. The constants for the equations are phenomenological, that is, determined by fitting the equations to experimental data.
The internucleon potentials attempt to describe the properties of nucleon–nucleon interaction. Once determined, any given potential can be used in, e.g. the Schrödinger equation to determine the quantum mechanical properties of the nucleon system. The discovery of the neutron in 1932 revealed that atomic nuclei were made of protons and neutrons, held together by an attractive force. By 1935 the nuclear force was conceived to be transmitted by particles called mesons; this theoretical development included a description of the Yukawa potential, an early example of a nuclear potential. Mesons, predicted by theory, were discovered experimentally in 1947. By the 1970s, the quark model had been developed, by which the mesons and nucleons were viewed as composed of quarks and gluons. By this new model, the nuclear force, resulting from the exchange of mesons between neighboring nucleons, is a residual effect of the strong force. While the nuclear force is associated with nucleons, more this force is felt between hadrons, or particles composed of quarks.
At small separations between nucleons the force becomes repulsive, which keeps the nucleons at a certain average separation if they are of different types. This repulsion arises from the Pauli exclusion force for identical nucleons. A Pauli exclusion force occurs between quarks of the same type within nucleons, when the nucleons are different. At distances larger than 0.7 fm the force becomes attractive between spin-aligned nucleons, becoming maximal at a center–center distance of about 0.9 fm. Beyond this distance the force drops exponentially, until beyond about 2.0 fm separation, the force is negligible. Nucleons have a radius of about 0.8 fm. At short distances, the attractive nuclear force is stronger than the repulsive Coulomb force between protons. However, the Coulomb force between protons has a much greater range as it varies as the inverse square of the charge separation, Coulomb repulsion thus becomes the only significant force between protons when their separation exceeds about 2 to 2.5 fm.
The nuclear force has a spin-dependent component. The force is stronger for particles with their spins aligned than for those with their spins anti-aligned. If two particles are the same, such as two neutrons or two protons, the force is not enough to bind the particles, since the spin vectors of two particles of the same type must point in opposite directions when the particles are near each other and are in the same quantum state; this requirement for fermions stems from the Pauli exclusion principle. For fermion particles of different types, such as a proton and neutron, particles may be close to each other and have aligned spins without violating the Pauli exclusion principle, the nuclear force may bind them, since the nuclear force is much stronger for spin-aligned particles, but if the particles' spins are anti-aligned the nuclear force is too weak to bind them if they are of different types. The nuclear force has a tensor component which depends on the interaction between the nucleon spins and the angular momentum of the nucleons, leading to deformation from a simple spherical shape
A gamma ray or gamma radiation, is a penetrating electromagnetic radiation arising from the radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. It consists of the shortest wavelength electromagnetic waves and so imparts the highest photon energy. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900 while studying radiation emitted by radium. In 1903, Ernest Rutherford named this radiation gamma rays based on their strong penetration of matter. Gamma rays from radioactive decay are in the energy range from a few keV to ~8 MeV, corresponding to the typical energy levels in nuclei with reasonably long lifetimes; the energy spectrum of gamma rays can be used to identify the decaying radionuclides using gamma spectroscopy. Very-high-energy gamma rays in the 100–1000 TeV range have been observed from sources such as the Cygnus X-3 microquasar. Natural sources of gamma rays originating on Earth are as a result of radioactive decay and secondary radiation from atmospheric interactions with cosmic ray particles.
However there are other rare natural sources, such as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, that produce gamma rays from electron action upon the nucleus. Notable artificial sources of gamma rays include fission, such as occurs in nuclear reactors, as well as high energy physics experiments, such as neutral pion decay and nuclear fusion. Gamma rays and X-rays are both electromagnetic radiation and they overlap in the electromagnetic spectrum, the terminology varies between scientific disciplines. In some fields of physics, they are distinguished by their origin: Gamma rays are created by nuclear decay, while in the case of X-rays, the origin is outside the nucleus. In astrophysics, gamma rays are conventionally defined as having photon energies above 100 keV and are the subject of gamma ray astronomy, while radiation below 100 keV is classified as X-rays and is the subject of X-ray astronomy; this convention stems from the early man-made X-rays, which had energies only up to 100 keV, whereas many gamma rays could go to higher energies.
A large fraction of astronomical gamma rays are screened by Earth's atmosphere. Gamma rays are thus biologically hazardous. Due to their high penetration power, they can damage internal organs. Unlike alpha and beta rays, they pass through the body and thus pose a formidable radiation protection challenge, requiring shielding made from dense materials such as lead or concrete; the first gamma ray source to be discovered was the radioactive decay process called gamma decay. In this type of decay, an excited nucleus emits a gamma ray immediately upon formation. Paul Villard, a French chemist and physicist, discovered gamma radiation in 1900, while studying radiation emitted from radium. Villard knew that his described radiation was more powerful than described types of rays from radium, which included beta rays, first noted as "radioactivity" by Henri Becquerel in 1896, alpha rays, discovered as a less penetrating form of radiation by Rutherford, in 1899. However, Villard did not consider naming them as a different fundamental type.
In 1903, Villard's radiation was recognized as being of a type fundamentally different from named rays by Ernest Rutherford, who named Villard's rays "gamma rays" by analogy with the beta and alpha rays that Rutherford had differentiated in 1899. The "rays" emitted by radioactive elements were named in order of their power to penetrate various materials, using the first three letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha rays as the least penetrating, followed by beta rays, followed by gamma rays as the most penetrating. Rutherford noted that gamma rays were not deflected by a magnetic field, another property making them unlike alpha and beta rays. Gamma rays were first thought to be particles like alpha and beta rays. Rutherford believed that they might be fast beta particles, but their failure to be deflected by a magnetic field indicated that they had no charge. In 1914, gamma rays were observed to be reflected from crystal surfaces, proving that they were electromagnetic radiation. Rutherford and his co-worker Edward Andrade measured the wavelengths of gamma rays from radium, found that they were similar to X-rays, but with shorter wavelengths and higher frequency.
This was recognized as giving them more energy per photon, as soon as the latter term became accepted. A gamma decay was understood to emit a gamma photon. Natural sources of gamma rays on Earth include gamma decay from occurring radioisotopes such as potassium-40, as a secondary radiation from various atmospheric interactions with cosmic ray particles; some rare terrestrial natural sources that produce gamma rays that are not of a nuclear origin, are lightning strikes and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, which produce high energy emissions from natural high-energy voltages. Gamma rays are produced by a number of astronomical processes in which high-energy electrons are produced; such electrons produce secondary gamma rays by the mechanisms of bremsstrahlung, inverse Compton scattering and synchrotron radiation. A large fraction of such astronomical gamma rays are screened by Earth's atmosphere. Notable artificial sources of gamma rays include fission, such as occurs in nuclear reactors, as well as high energy physics experiments, such as neutral pion decay and nuclear fusion.
A sample of gamma ray-emitting material, used for irradiating or imaging is known as a gamma source. It is called a radioactive sou
Nuclear matter is an idealized system of interacting nucleons that exists in several phases that as yet are not established. It is not matter in a nucleus, but a hypothetical substance consisting of a huge number of protons and neutrons interacting by only nuclear forces and no Coulomb forces. Volume and the number of particles are infinite. Infinite volume implies translational invariance. A common idealization is symmetric nuclear matter, which consists of equal numbers of protons and neutrons, with no electrons; when nuclear matter is compressed to sufficiently high density, it is expected, on the basis of the asymptotic freedom of Quantum chromodynamics, that it will become quark matter, a degenerate Fermi gas of quarks. Some authors use "nuclear matter" in a broader sense, refer to the model described above as "infinite nuclear matter", consider it as a "toy model", a testing ground for analytical techniques. However, the composition of a neutron star, which requires more than neutrons and protons, is not locally charge neutral, does not exhibit translation invariance is differently referred to, for example, as neutron star matter or stellar matter and is considered distinct from nuclear matter.
In a neutron star, pressure rises from zero to an unknown large value in the center. Methods capable of treating finite regions have been applied to atomic nuclei. One such model for finite nuclei is the liquid drop model, which includes surface effects and Coulomb interactions. QCD vacuum Quark–gluon plasma Degenerate matter Neutron-degenerate matter Strange matter Nuclear structure Neutronium Nuclear physics
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
Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions. Other forms of nuclear matter are studied. Nuclear physics should not be confused with atomic physics, which studies the atom as a whole, including its electrons. Discoveries in nuclear physics have led to applications in many fields; this includes nuclear power, nuclear weapons, nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging and agricultural isotopes, ion implantation in materials engineering, radiocarbon dating in geology and archaeology. Such applications are studied in the field of nuclear engineering. Particle physics evolved out of nuclear physics and the two fields are taught in close association. Nuclear astrophysics, the application of nuclear physics to astrophysics, is crucial in explaining the inner workings of stars and the origin of the chemical elements; the history of nuclear physics as a discipline distinct from atomic physics starts with the discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel in 1896, while investigating phosphorescence in uranium salts.
The discovery of the electron by J. J. Thomson a year was an indication that the atom had internal structure. At the beginning of the 20th century the accepted model of the atom was J. J. Thomson's "plum pudding" model in which the atom was a positively charged ball with smaller negatively charged electrons embedded inside it. In the years that followed, radioactivity was extensively investigated, notably by Marie and Pierre Curie as well as by Ernest Rutherford and his collaborators. By the turn of the century physicists had discovered three types of radiation emanating from atoms, which they named alpha and gamma radiation. Experiments by Otto Hahn in 1911 and by James Chadwick in 1914 discovered that the beta decay spectrum was continuous rather than discrete; that is, electrons were ejected from the atom with a continuous range of energies, rather than the discrete amounts of energy that were observed in gamma and alpha decays. This was a problem for nuclear physics at the time, because it seemed to indicate that energy was not conserved in these decays.
The 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to Becquerel for his discovery and to Marie and Pierre Curie for their subsequent research into radioactivity. Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908 for his "investigations into the disintegration of the elements and the chemistry of radioactive substances". In 1905 Albert Einstein formulated the idea of mass–energy equivalence. While the work on radioactivity by Becquerel and Marie Curie predates this, an explanation of the source of the energy of radioactivity would have to wait for the discovery that the nucleus itself was composed of smaller constituents, the nucleons. In 1906 Ernest Rutherford published "Retardation of the α Particle from Radium in passing through matter." Hans Geiger expanded on this work in a communication to the Royal Society with experiments he and Rutherford had done, passing alpha particles through air, aluminum foil and gold leaf. More work was published in 1909 by Geiger and Ernest Marsden, further expanded work was published in 1910 by Geiger.
In 1911–1912 Rutherford went before the Royal Society to explain the experiments and propound the new theory of the atomic nucleus as we now understand it. The key experiment behind this announcement was performed in 1910 at the University of Manchester: Ernest Rutherford's team performed a remarkable experiment in which Geiger and Marsden under Rutherford's supervision fired alpha particles at a thin film of gold foil; the plum pudding model had predicted that the alpha particles should come out of the foil with their trajectories being at most bent. But Rutherford instructed his team to look for something that shocked him to observe: a few particles were scattered through large angles completely backwards in some cases, he likened it to firing a bullet at tissue paper and having it bounce off. The discovery, with Rutherford's analysis of the data in 1911, led to the Rutherford model of the atom, in which the atom had a small dense nucleus containing most of its mass, consisting of heavy positively charged particles with embedded electrons in order to balance out the charge.
As an example, in this model nitrogen-14 consisted of a nucleus with 14 protons and 7 electrons and the nucleus was surrounded by 7 more orbiting electrons. Around 1920, Arthur Eddington anticipated the discovery and mechanism of nuclear fusion processes in stars, in his paper The Internal Constitution of the Stars. At that time, the source of stellar energy was a complete mystery; this was a remarkable development since at that time fusion and thermonuclear energy, that stars are composed of hydrogen, had not yet been discovered. The Rutherford model worked quite well until studies of nuclear spin were carried out by Franco Rasetti at the California Institute of Technology in 1929. By 1925 it was known that protons and electrons each had a spin of +/-1⁄2. In the Rutherford model of nitrogen-14, 20 of the total 21 nuclear particles should have paired up to cancel each other's spin, the final odd particle should have left the nucleus with a net spin of 1⁄2. Rasetti discovered, that nitrogen-14 had a spin of 1.
In 1932 Chadwick realized that radiation, observed by Walther Bothe, Herbert Becker, Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie was due to a neutral particle of about the same mass as the proton, that he called the neutron (following a su
The atomic number or proton number of a chemical element is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom. It is identical to the charge number of the nucleus; the atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element. In an uncharged atom, the atomic number is equal to the number of electrons; the sum of the atomic number Z and the number of neutrons, N, gives the mass number A of an atom. Since protons and neutrons have the same mass and the mass defect of nucleon binding is always small compared to the nucleon mass, the atomic mass of any atom, when expressed in unified atomic mass units, is within 1% of the whole number A. Atoms with the same atomic number Z but different neutron numbers N, hence different atomic masses, are known as isotopes. A little more than three-quarters of occurring elements exist as a mixture of isotopes, the average isotopic mass of an isotopic mixture for an element in a defined environment on Earth, determines the element's standard atomic weight, it was these atomic weights of elements that were the quantities measurable by chemists in the 19th century.
The conventional symbol Z comes from the German word Zahl meaning number, before the modern synthesis of ideas from chemistry and physics denoted an element's numerical place in the periodic table, whose order is but not consistent with the order of the elements by atomic weights. Only after 1915, with the suggestion and evidence that this Z number was the nuclear charge and a physical characteristic of atoms, did the word Atomzahl come into common use in this context. Loosely speaking, the existence or construction of a periodic table of elements creates an ordering of the elements, so they can be numbered in order. Dmitri Mendeleev claimed. However, in consideration of the elements' observed chemical properties, he changed the order and placed tellurium ahead of iodine; this placement is consistent with the modern practice of ordering the elements by proton number, Z, but that number was not known or suspected at the time. A simple numbering based on periodic table position was never satisfactory, however.
Besides the case of iodine and tellurium several other pairs of elements were known to have nearly identical or reversed atomic weights, thus requiring their placement in the periodic table to be determined by their chemical properties. However the gradual identification of more and more chemically similar lanthanide elements, whose atomic number was not obvious, led to inconsistency and uncertainty in the periodic numbering of elements at least from lutetium onward. In 1911, Ernest Rutherford gave a model of the atom in which a central core held most of the atom's mass and a positive charge which, in units of the electron's charge, was to be equal to half of the atom's atomic weight, expressed in numbers of hydrogen atoms; this central charge would thus be half the atomic weight. In spite of Rutherford's estimation that gold had a central charge of about 100, a month after Rutherford's paper appeared, Antonius van den Broek first formally suggested that the central charge and number of electrons in an atom was equal to its place in the periodic table.
This proved to be the case. The experimental position improved after research by Henry Moseley in 1913. Moseley, after discussions with Bohr, at the same lab, decided to test Van den Broek's and Bohr's hypothesis directly, by seeing if spectral lines emitted from excited atoms fitted the Bohr theory's postulation that the frequency of the spectral lines be proportional to the square of Z. To do this, Moseley measured the wavelengths of the innermost photon transitions produced by the elements from aluminum to gold used as a series of movable anodic targets inside an x-ray tube; the square root of the frequency of these photons increased from one target to the next in an arithmetic progression. This led to the conclusion that the atomic number does correspond to the calculated electric charge of the nucleus, i.e. the element number Z. Among other things, Moseley demonstrated that the lanthanide series must have 15 members—no fewer and no more—which was far from obvious from the chemistry at that time.
After Moseley's death in 1915, the atomic numbers of all known elements from hydrogen to uranium were examined by his method. There were seven elements which were not found and therefore identified as still undiscovered, corresponding to atomic numbers 43, 61, 72, 75, 85, 87 and 91. From 1918 to 1947, all seven of these missing elements were discovered. By this time the first four transuranium elements had been discovered, so that the periodic table was complete with no gaps as far as curium. In 1915 the rea