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

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Why does fusion stop at iron when nickel is most tightly bound?

My understanding is that stellar fusion naturally stops at iron because it is energetically unfavourable to grow the nucleus further. But iron is only the third most tightly-bound nucleus, nickel is ...
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335 views

Is an atom charged after undergoing beta emission?

After beta emission, an atom's mass number remains the same while the number of protons increases by one. As far as I know, the beta particle (electron) is too energetic to be recaptured. If this is ...
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96 views

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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438 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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94 views

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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177 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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69 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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257 views

Is the long range neutron-antineutron interaction repulsive or attractive?

I can model this interaction as Zee does in "Quantum field theory in a nutshell". In chapter I.4 section "from particle to force" he uses two delta functions for the source. The integral gives ...
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76 views

Reaction of uranium and neutrons emits neutrons, or is it photons?

So we had this test in nuclears physics today, and part of one of the quesitons was the following: When $\rm U^{235}_{92}$ nuclides are bombarded with one neutron, they can decompose to krypton ...
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120 views

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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361 views

Why is the Wick contraction in HFB or BCS equal to a single-particle density?

I'm trying to understand how in Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov (HFB) or BCS theory we can write a product of creation/annihilation operators as single-particle densities under the guise of "Wick's theorem". ...
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56 views

If there are long-lived elements in the Island of stability, why are they not present in Nature?

To my understanding, some (but not many) physicists speculate that the Island of stability may contain long-lived elements, as in a billion or so years. But couldn't we rule that out just by the ...
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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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175 views

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 ...
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591 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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2k views

What happens if we put together a proton and an antineutron?

A hydrogen nucleus consists of a single proton. A 2-hydrogen (deuterium) nucleus consists of a proton and a neutron. A tritium nucleus consists of a proton and two neutrons. This makes me wonder how ...
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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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332 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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Why is binding energy $\Delta mc^2$?

As we know the mass-energy equivalence relation $E=mc^2$ originally came from special relativity. And the binding energy is $\Delta mc^2$. How do we know that the extra mass coming from theoretical ...
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233 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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Conversion of mass to energy in chemical/nuclear reactions

Is mass converted into energy in exothermic chemical / nuclear reactions? My (A Level) knowledge of chemistry suggests that this isn't the case. In a simple burning reaction, e.g. $C+O_2\to ...
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142 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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168 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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363 views

Why is the excited state of 116 Indium more stable than ground state?

Why is the excited state of 116 Indium more stable than ground state? Both undergo beta decay, but the ground state has a half-life of 14 seconds, while the excited state has a half-life of 54 ...
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282 views

How much pressure would be needed to contain a 1 gigaton nuclear bomb explosion within a sphere of one meter radius?

How much pressure would be needed to contain the largest human exploitable nuclear bomb within a sphere of one radius? Also would it be possible to create a magnetic field that controlled some ...
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129 views

Why don't we have more elements?

By looking at the number of subatomic particles there seem to exist, there should be thousands of element configuration combinations possible. But we have found just over hundred elements to exist. ...
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499 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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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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4k 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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64 views

Showing that $\lambda$ is the probability per unit time that one particle will decay in 1 second

My textbook says that $\lambda$ is the probability per unit time that 1 particle will decay in one second. This makes absolutely no sense to me - I can see that it is related to probability but cannot ...
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204 views

The role of W bosons in the weak nuclear force and beta decay

I am a beginner Physics student and I am studying the weak nuclear force and how particle interactions work. Now, from my book and the Feynman diagram, I learned that a neutron can change into a ...
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400 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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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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About Nuclear magnetic resonance

I'm trying to understand the basic principles of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance reading this link but I have some doubts: 1) I have ever known that when protons aren't in a magnetic field, their spins ...
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254 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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1k views

Parity of proton is 1?

I have found from Wikipedia that "a parity transformation is the flip in the sign of spatial coordinates". Now when we operate parity operator, does that mean we are taking any physical entity at ...
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166 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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272 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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559 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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91 views

Binding energy and mass

I’ve been told that a greater binding energy means the nucleus is more tightly bound, and therefore that decreases the mass of the nucleus with respect to its nucleons when separated. But why does a ...
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334 views

Velocity distribution in ion source (electron bombardment) for Bainbridge mass spectrometer

Consider the following schematics of a Bainbridge mass spectrometer (Source: ...
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319 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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421 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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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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97 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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697 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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1k 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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Why the pion does not get mass under Spontaneus breaking of chiral symmetry, but the quarks do?

Some sources state that when the mass of a quark goes to zero, it allows for Spontaneous Breaking of Chiral Symmetry and gets a constituent mass of about $200\, \mathrm{MeV}$. Other sources state ...
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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 ...