# Is it possible to single out a proton, electron, neutron?

I've read that it's nearly impossible to take a proton from an element. But if it's "nearly" impossible then it is possible to some degree. If this has happened, what is exactly the process of taking an atom apart. Likewise, would this be possible for electrons and neutrons as well?

• It is quite possible to remove an electron, through various techniques of ionization. Neutrons are "removed" from nuclei in such processes as nuclear fission, and protons may be removed through other nuclear processes, although these may also include removing one or more neutrons, as well as one or more other protons. – HDE 226868 Dec 21 '14 at 23:56
• Are you asking about a deliberate removal (via a reaction) or radioactive emission? Both are possible, but the radioactive emission is extremely rare. – Bill N Dec 22 '14 at 0:54
• In relation to the proton ... consider the ion $^1H^+$. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Dec 22 '14 at 4:31
• It's quite possible to remove a proton. Curiously, this was one of the first nuclear reactions in the history of physics: Rutherford discovered in 1919 that alpha bombardment of nitrogen could create oxygen and a proton according to the reaction 14N + α → 17O + p. – CuriousOne Dec 22 '14 at 8:27
• @HDE226868 Please, stop. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Dec 22 '14 at 8:49