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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

4
votes
3answers
120 views

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, ...
4
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
780 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" ...
4
votes
1answer
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?
4
votes
1answer
638 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
780 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

Baryons annihilation

I was wondering if there is a way of calculate the annihilation cross section for two baryons, say $p\bar p\to\pi\pi$ or $p\bar p\to\gamma\gamma$. The problem here is that we cannot use the usual ...
4
votes
2answers
146 views

Why do heavy nuclei have half lives

Why do heavy nuclei have half-lives if they are unstable why do they take millions of years to break down in some cases why don't they simple do it instantly? What makes them stay together?
4
votes
1answer
93 views

What produces this 477 keV spectral line?

Question about a specific line on a gamma spectrum, here. Below is a background gamma spectrum observed by a Ge[li] detector. I've been able to identify all the lines with mostly certainty, apart ...
4
votes
2answers
55 views

One Pion Exchange Potential properties for a two-nucleon system

I'm going through my Nuclear Physics book, and has come across a section called "Properties of OPEP for the two-nucleon system". It start out by considering the n-p system in a singlet spin state ...
4
votes
1answer
57 views

Can an electron in an atom have insufficient energy to achieve an energy level, or orbital, and what happens to this electron when this occurs?

If a nucleus undergoes a change in Z or Mass due decay or absorption, could this disrupt the electrons from their orbital/shell energy levels? If so, could the electrons that were previously in the ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

Free neutrons in the sun's core?

In the standard description of proton-proton fusion, the first step of the interaction proceeds through the unbound diproton $\rm^2He$: $$ \begin{aligned} \rm p + p &\to \rm {}^2He^* \\ \rm ^2He^* ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

PP Chain and CNO cycle relationship

At what temperature would the energy generation rates of the PP-Chain and CNO cycles be roughly equivalent? The dependences are so vastly different that I am wondering how and by what equations they ...
4
votes
1answer
637 views

Why are atomic quadrupole moments calculated using nuclear spin?

It's my understanding that electric quadrupoles interact with the gradient of an electric field, and I understand roughly how this works. I am trying to calculate the interaction between an atomic ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

In nuclear fusion reaction, what is the percentage of mass converted to energy?

I read somewhere that it is about one percent of the mass, but I find this too high. Also I have done some calculations, for example, the Tsar Bomba was 50 MT bomb and weighed about 27 tons. Although ...
4
votes
2answers
451 views

Gamma Ray LASER Theory and Technology

I am aware that a similar question has been asked by someone else in the past, but in a very general form. Due to the physics interest and technology, in this question I put emphasis on the detail of ...
4
votes
2answers
806 views

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" ...
4
votes
1answer
1k 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), ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

How was Be-8's Half-Life of 7E-17 Second Determined?

Radionuclides occur with half-lives in a vast range of over 37 magnitudes as listed in this site. In question 7584, Lubos Motl explained how Gyr half-lives were determined. This method doesn't appear ...
4
votes
2answers
482 views

What is the main thermal energy source for a protostar, the contraction or the deuterium burning energy?

According to the virial theorem, when a protostar contracts, half of the gravitational potential energy is radiated and half is kept as kinetic energy of the falling material which in turn heats the ...
4
votes
1answer
212 views

How do scientists estimate elemental-abundance in the universe?

I understand how cosmological observations can estimate the amount of 'baryonic matter' in the universe, but what I don't understand is how scientists can estimate the abundance of a particular ...
4
votes
1answer
136 views

Nuclear fusion and the Sun [closed]

I am working on a science project on the Sun. I have found that in order for nuclear fusion to work, it needs both helium 3 and 4. Why can't nuclear fusion be done with just helium 4? How can we ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
536 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Nuclear Spin of Sodium 23

I am actually calculating the nuclear spin of Sodium 23. Here we have 11 protons and 12 neutrons. Now both the nuclei are short of the magic numbers. When I use the shell model for protons and ...
4
votes
1answer
966 views

Why does the addition of paramagnetic ions decrease the spin lattice relaxation time of protons?

My question pertains to NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). $T_1$, the spin lattice relaxation time of protons in water is about 2.5 seconds. If you add some $CuSO_4$ (copper sulfate) to the water the ...
4
votes
1answer
294 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
397 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
534 views

Why is the total interaction cross section larger for incident particles with lower energy?

The cross section of a nuclear interaction is a measurement of the probability of that interaction occuring. These probabilities are typically presented in terms of barns ($10^{-28}$ m$^2$) as a ...
4
votes
3answers
193 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
384 views

Gamow peak and nuclear reaction rate

It's known that the nuclear reaction rate (inside a Star) can be determined with $$R_{ab}=n_a n_b\left<\sigma v\right> \, \approx \, n_a n_b \Big(\frac{8}{\pi m_e}\Big)^{1/2} ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
218 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
47 views

What processes contribute to non-relativistic proton-antiproton collsions (annihilation)

I wonder what the dominant contributions of nuclear interaction to non-relativistic proton-antiproton annihilation are (I mean that the proton and antiproton are non-relativistic. The products might ...
4
votes
4answers
162 views

Do neutrons in an atomic nucleus exert strong force on each other?

If they do, then why do we never see clumps of neutrons assembled into "atoms" without protons? Or are neurtons mutually repelled by the strong force?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Strong force, where is the seperation?

In class I got given a diagram like this: (albeit without the Electrostatic force line) However the teacher told us the nucleons are typically separated when the force is zero. So as the string ...
3
votes
11answers
2k views

Can a nuclear reactor meltdown be contained with molten lead?

If lead can absorb or block radiation, would it be possible to pump molten lead into a reactor core which is melting, so that it would eventually cool and contain the radiation? Is there something ...
3
votes
4answers
11k views

Why build nuclear reactors on shorelines?

While not directly a physics question, I can't think of forum better capable of answering my question. In discussions over Japan's nuclear reactor situation the observation was made that reactors ...
3
votes
3answers
760 views

Is Uranium renewable, or will this science fiction scenario become reality?

In my imagination, nuclear power could disapear when we use up all the uranium generating electricity, or exploding nuclear bombs. Is uranium a renewable resourse? if not, can we prove that this ...
3
votes
2answers
629 views

Russian Doll Teller Ulam?

Can you trigger a thermonuclear explosion from a smaller thermonuclear explosion in a scaling way, so that starting from a small laser ignited fusion within a small fissile container, using the X-rays ...
3
votes
3answers
812 views

Can I move the atom nucleus only?

I was wondering if it is possible to move the atom nucleus and leave behind the electrons? I can imagine that the electrons will follow the nucleus. But what if the speed of the nucleus is almost the ...
3
votes
3answers
241 views

What is nuclide notation referring to? Only the nucleus or the whole atom?

sorry that this is an easy question but I am just a bit confused about nuclide notation. When you say e.g. $^{240}_{94}\text{Pu}$, are you referring to the atom of $\text{Pu}$ or only its nucleus? It ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Atomic nucleus consisting of only neutrons?

Is it true that the nucleus of all atoms (including radioactive isotopes) contain at least one proton? Is there an atomic nucleus consisting entirely of neutrons? (Let's exclude neutron stars for the ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the shielding in nuclear reactors mainly against?

I have a little knowledge about ionizing radiation and I have been confused over why nuclear reactors need these massive shields. So, if I am not mistaken, Alpha and Beta radiation are not that ...
3
votes
1answer
381 views

Is it possible that nuclear fission contributes to climate change?

This is probably a really stupid question, please forgive me. Is it possible that the use of nuclear fission on earth contributes to the increased energy in the Earth's system as according with the ...
3
votes
2answers
477 views

Evidence that nuclei contain neutrons and protons (other than nucleons appearing if a nucleus is smashed)?

This may seem like a silly question, but I believe this to be very fundamental because the Standard Model of particle physics seems based on the axiom or assumption that neutrons and protons exist ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

How to make sure that two electrons collide head to head?

In high energy experiments, people smash particles into particles. But how to make sure that they really run into each other, instead of just passing by?
3
votes
1answer
418 views

Charge on the remaining atom after Alpha decay

In radioactive alpha decay, a helium atom is shown to be released. However, I was told that only thing released is a helium nucleus. If so, then it should leave two of its electrons in the atom ...
3
votes
4answers
294 views

Tritium decay is spontaneous even if the binding energy of tritium is higher than the binding energy of 3He. Why?

Given this nuclear reaction: $^3_1\mathrm H\to {}^3_2\mathrm{He}+e^-+\bar{\nu}$ and knowing the binding energies: $BE(^3_1\mathrm H)=8.48 \,\mathrm{MeV}$ $BE(^3_2\mathrm{He})=7.72 \,\mathrm{MeV}$ ...