Nuclear physics is the study of the composition, behavior and interaction of atomic nuclei and their constituent parts.

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Why do excited states in $^4$He not decay by photon emission?

Here's a level scheme for the $^4$He nucleus (source; click image to see full size): Notice that all of the confirmed decay modes are by disintegration — emission of a neutron, proton, or deuteron. ...
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140 views

Number of decays in a chain reaction

It is widely known that the probability of $n$ decays from one system to another $A \rightarrow B$ (e.g., electrons decaying from one atomic energy level to another or muons decaying into neutrinos ...
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65 views

what general physical arguments discredit induced emission of nuclei?

trying to read a bit about "quantum nucleonics", i've encountered this rebuttal from people at Livermore that induced radiation stimulation of Hafnium nuclei is possible. Something that catches my eye ...
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805 views

If quarks didn't have mass, could protons (and neutrons) exist?

I read here (mass of a proton) that the mass of a proton is mostly (99%) due to the energy of the strong nuclear force which binds the quarks together, and not the actual mass of the quarks. My ...
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95 views

Problem with shell model and magnetic moment of Lithium-6

I have a problem with the calculus of magnetic moment of Li-6. The configuration of protons is $1p_{3/2}$, and the neutrons' one is the same. I have to add the magnetic moment of uncoupled proton ...
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226 views

What is the most stable nuclide of an isobar?

From the semi-empirical mass formula, the mass of an atomic nucleus is $$M\left(A,Z\right)=Zm_p+(A-Z)m_n-\frac{E_b(A,Z)}{c^2}$$ I've been told (at first) that for a given mass number $A$, the most ...
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977 views

Nuclear/quantum physics simulation software

Is there any software which is able to simulate D-T interaction for example and get temperature-crosssection curve without referencing to any experimental data? Do we have quantum-level simulation ...
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496 views

Is there no radioactive decay between nuclear fusion and solid material formation?

I'm aware my question might be considered a duplicate of this one: Radio-dating and the age of the earth I read that one and I looked everywhere and I still can't find my piece of mind. I would ...
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How can the nucleus of an atom be in an excited state?

An example of the nucleus of an atom being in an excited state is the Hoyle State, which was a theory devised by the Astronomer Fred Hoyle to help describe the vast quantities of carbon-12 present in ...
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488 views

Why can't Iron fusion occur in stars?

It is said that iron fusion is endothermic and star can't sustain this kind of fusion (not until it goes supernova). However star is constantly releasing energy from fusion of elements like Hydrogen ...
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223 views

What has $E = mc^2$ to do with nuclear powerplants?

In life, when you talk about nuclear energy, there always happens to be a guy who says that famous Einstein's equation. "Yeah, they just convert mass to energy, $E = mc^2$ ya know?" When I think ...
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Why are nuclear reactors dome/bell shaped?

Just what the title states. What is the reason that a Nuclear reactor has a characteristic dome/bell shape?
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66 views

For which temperatures are the ENDF cross-sections given?

In ENDF there are cross-sections given for different types of nuclear interactions. For example, this file gives the cross-sections for different neutron energies. However, it is not clear, which ...
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146 views

Is a Betelgeuse supernova able to neutralise earth's nuclear arsenal?

According to an article on newscientist.com, a neutrino beam could neutralise nuclear bombs by inducing a slow meltdown of the nuclear fuel. The neutrino generator would need to be more than a ...
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153 views

Radiation exposure to a child who was briefly in the presence of an adult who had received a 18FDG PET scan

I am a physician who thought she was good at math, but apparently am not as I cannot figure out this mathematical/physics question. (My background is obviously NOT nuclear medicine!) A family friend ...
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920 views

What is the required thickness of concrete needed to entomb a leaking reactors emissions?

What is the minimum thickness of an aggregate concrete membrane to prevent radioactive particles from escaping a broken reactor? I am interested in calculating the amount of concrete required to ...
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209 views

Does a Photon leave trace in a silicon tracker?

I am having this image from ATLAS Detector. In gray you can see the ATLAS's Si Tracker.In Green you see the Electromagnetic Callorimeter. In red there is the Hadron Callorimeter and in Blue there ...
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335 views

Why doesn't a nuclear fuel pool become irradiated?

Why doesn't the volume of water in a nuclear fuel pool become irradiated? Why wouldn't the water around the pool become radioactive and circulate around making the whole thing deadly? My question ...
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896 views

Adding many more neutrons to a nucleus decreases stability?

If you take any large nucleus and add protons to it, the electrostatic repulsion between them will make the nucleus more unstable, because the electrostatic force between them is more repulsive at a ...
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78 views

Computer parsable table of nuclides

I am looking for an computer parsable (CSV, XML, JSON, since I didn't find anything, I am happy with almost everything) file (or collection of files) that contains the information you can find in a ...
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90 views

A naive look at the band of stability suggests a stable isotope of every element. Why is this intuition false?

Looking at the band of stability, my first intuition is to conclude (erroneously) that there is a stable isotope of every element that lies close to the belt of stability. Why is this false? (For ...
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250 views

nuclear fission and half life

Why is the alpha, beta or gamma decay of an unstable nucleus unaffected by the chemical situation of an atom, such as the nature of the molecule or solid in which it is bound? The chemical situation ...
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210 views

Why are there photographs of nuclear tests?

I was looking at old photographs of the nuclear tests on the bikini atoll. It dawned on me that you don't want to run film through airport x-rays, as it exposes the film. I've been told that a ...
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388 views

Can the earth's magnetic field be generated by heat from a natural nuclear reactor?

I've come upon Dr. J. Marvin Herndon's theory that the earth's magnetic field is generated by a hot nuclear reactor operating in the center of the earth. This is backed by various papers, some of them ...
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765 views

Fermi's Golden Rule

It is well known that to calculate the probability of transition in the scattering processes, as a first approximation, we use the Fermi golden rule. This rule is obtained considering the initial ...
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64 views

Why 3He(n,p)3H nuclear reaction proceeds but 3He(n,gamma)4He heavily suppressed?

The neutron capture reaction 3He(n,p)3H is very useful for neutron detection as the Q value of ~700keV is converted to kinetic energies in the produced p and 3H. These charged products can then ionize ...
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88 views

Energy balance for beta decay of cobalt-60

I am confused by a simple fact about the $\beta^{-}$ decay of ${}^{60}{\rm Co}$ nucleus. According to Wikipedia, the most likely decay branch is to an excited state of ${}^{60}{\rm Ni}$, see the ...
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Do nuclear reaction cross sections depend on the angle between incident beam and target-crystal?

Shouldn't the absorption rate of a beam of particles strongly depend on the angle between the beam and the target material's crystal-axis (if the target material is a monocrystal)? At certain angles, ...
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74 views

$\alpha$ decay to more than one nuclear state

I do not understand how $\alpha$ decay can be a probabilistic process such that there are multiple products from the decay. For example: $^{241}\mathrm{Cm}$ decays to the excited states of ...
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381 views

Americium battery

I was curious about a radioactive decay battery. My thought was to place an americium source from a smoke detector in a vacuum sealed borosilicate glass vessel. The Americium source would be "aimed" ...
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530 views

Why do we use only nonrelativistic equations in nuclear physics?

What is limit between relativistic and non-relativistic equations? Which conditions do we have to use one of these?
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517 views

Matter-antimatter annihilation

What happens if different size atoms meet? We've just created anti-helium, I think. What if one atom of anti-helium collided with one atom of iron. Would some of the iron be left over as a new ...
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266 views

Coulomb barrier and proton evaporation

Why is it that neutrons evaporate from nuclei more easily than protons do? Intuitively, since protons are electrostatically repelled (in addition to whatever nuclear forces they have in common with ...
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581 views

Why are synthetic elements unstable?

So far 20 synthetic elements have been synthesized. All are unstable, decaying with half-lives between years and milliseconds. Why is that?
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What is an intuitive picture of the motion of nucleons?

I understand the "motion" of electrons within an ordinary atom (say argon at room temperature and pressure). They are moving in "orbits" defined by quantum mechanical wavefunctions where the "orbits" ...
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765 views

Relationship between nuclear spin and nuclear magnetic moment?

We know that nuclear magnetic moment can be expressed in terms of the expected value for nuclear spin as: $$\langle\mu\rangle =[g_lj+(g_s-g_l)\langle s_z\rangle]\frac{\mu_N}{\hbar}$$ (Cf. Krane), ...
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Lifetime of undiscovered element and its calculation

Reading about nuclear models, nuclear physics and the mythical ``stability island'' I just wondered about the next question: How can the lifetime of any undiscovered superheavy element be calculated ...
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141 views

What is the the Ehrenfest-Oppenheimer rule on the statistics of composite systems?

Ehrenfest 1931 gives an argument to the effect that the application of the spin-statistics theorem to composite systems is valid, but only as an approximation and under certain conditions. ...
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131 views

Gaseous fission: Has it even been demonstrated experimentally?

I've been reading quite a bit about gas-core reactors, a theoretical reactor design where the fissioning of Uranium(along with Plutonium & possibly Thorium)occurs in gas phase. The result is that ...
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150 views

Why is a pion so light compared to a neutron or proton?

A pion is made out of a pair of up and/or down quarks. A neutron or proton is three up or down quarks. So naively I'd expect a pion to be about 2/3 the mass of a nucleon. In fact it's less than 1/6 ...
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169 views

How do we know that internal conversion creates no intermediate photon?

I've read, from several sources, that in internal conversion -- an excited electron transferring its energy to another electron which is then emitted -- no intermediate gamma radiation is produced. ...
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405 views

If we assume that protons don't decay, then will all matter ultimately decay into Iron-56 or into nickel-62?

Wikipedia says that all matter should decay into iron-56. But it also says Nickel-62 is the most stable nucleus. So could this mean that in the far future, everything could (through quantum ...
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Effect of pressure increase on electron orbital wave functions

One of my nuclear physics exercises was to find out if increasing the pressure of a sample of $^{7}\textrm{Be}$ would increase the chance of electron capture to $^{7}\textrm{Li}$ occur. My reasoning ...
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104 views

What does the Coulomb barrier really mean?

I realize I'm trying to get a simple answer on a complicated subject, but here goes anyway. I've done some research and I understand (well, mostly) about how Vc is the amount of energy required to get ...
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$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ decay for $\ce{_9^18F}$, computing $\Delta m$

For the decay: $$\require{mhchem}\ce{_9^18F\to_8^18O +e+ +{v}}$$ To compute $E$, I need $\Delta m$, the provided answer looks like: $$m_i = 18.000938~u$$ $$m_f = 17.999159~u + 2~(5.49 \times ...
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146 views

Helium Fusion and the Origin of Elements

In the fifth of his Messenger Lectures Feynman mentions the fact that Carbon-12 has an energy level at 7.82 MeV. He then states that this is what enables the fusion of three Helium-4 ions into Carbon ...
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60 views

Why does strong interaction increase with distance?

I read numerous times that strong interaction increases with distance. But how can one actually derive the force-distance relation from the lagrangian (quark field + gluon field + gauge coupling)? ...
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Are there any established theories as to why dubnium-268 and 270 have such high stability for a trans-actinide?

Dubnium-268 has a half life of 29h and 270, 23.15h. I know of the island of stability but if dubnium is in it, the island is very small as only rutherfordium has isotopes that approach the same ...
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Unknown peaks on RBS spectrum

I was given a sample, that it is supposed to be a medium thickness Rhodium on top of an infinite silicon waffer. The experimental RBS spectrum along with the simulation looks like that Apparently, ...
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Is there a difference between “two photon absorption” and “double quantum transitions”?

Wikipedia has articles on two photon absorption. And a lot of NMR literature refers to double quantum transitions. But is there a difference? As far as I can tell, a double quantum transition is has ...