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Consider a heavy isotope that decays by way of spontaneous fission. In a heavy nucleus, the balance of the Coulomb force and the nuclear force is a delicate one, as seen in the higher probability of emission of alpha particles at the poles of oblong deformed nuclei, where the Coulomb barrier is thinner, than at the waist; and in the spontaneous fission of synthetic elements beyond a certain mass, where the nuclear force is inadequate to compensate for Coulomb repulsion.

Now subject the atoms of the heavy isotope to a magnetic field that is strong enough to create a gradient of electron density at the nucleus as a result of electron orbitals shifting under the influence of the field. Will there be a tidal force on the nucleus due to a differential balance of the Coulomb and nuclear forces at either end of the gradient? Is it conceivable that the rate of spontaneous fission could be altered as a result?

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  • $\begingroup$ The second paragraph doesn't make much sense. The energy scale of the electrons is wrong for influencing nuclear processes. I don't see any reason why a magnetic field would produce a gradient in electron density. $\endgroup$ – user4552 Apr 26 '18 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ @BenCrowell we know that electron orbitals can become deformed under electric potentials, and we know that the Gamow alpha decay calculation is dependent upon minute differences in barrier width. I think the second paragraph makes sense. $\endgroup$ – Eric Walker Apr 26 '18 at 16:51
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Now subject the atoms of the heavy isotope to a magnetic field that is strong >enough to create a gradient of electron density at the nucleus as a result of electron orbitals shifting under the influence of the field. Will there be a tidal force on the nucleus due to a differential balance of the Coulomb and nuclear forces at either end of the gradient? Is it conceivable that the rate of spontaneous fission could be altered as a result?>

I think one is thinking about atomic electrons and

moving the clouds to produce the gradient of electron density...

just like on earth a tidal force...

but as i understand..

Fission happens as the electrostatic repulsion created

by the large number of positively charged protons contained in a heavy

nucleus get a pivotal role .

once the nucleus can overcome the strong nuclear force which holds it together, it can break .

Fission may be seen as a "tug-of-war" between the strong attractive nuclear force and the repulsive electrostatic force.

In fission reactions, electrostatic repulsion wins.

so i was just thinking that it may not be possible

to bring in the atomic electron cloud to the scene ...space/region where nuclear interactions are taking place.

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