1
$\begingroup$

I’m not about a plasma with the possibility of reassembling of the lost electrons. How long a He-nucleus (aka. an alpha particle) will be stable without electrons?

Stimulation for my question was another one: Neutron Source from ionised Helium?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ -1 Not clear what you are asking. Why should a helium nucleus be less stable without electrons orbiting around it? $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Dec 14 '17 at 12:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @sammy That is the question. ;-) $\endgroup$ – HolgerFiedler Dec 14 '17 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't have any reason for believing that the helium nucleus will be less stable, why are you asking here? If you have read some published research which suggests this might happen, tell us about it. That would make a valid question. As it stands, the question is not useful IMO. ... The background is just another of your questions. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Dec 14 '17 at 12:52
  • $\begingroup$ @sammy I’m just curious. And my feeling is that it will decay. $\endgroup$ – HolgerFiedler Dec 14 '17 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ What is the justification for your feeling? Of course you are curious, but questions on this site should be useful, not merely motivated by curiosity. ... The presence of orbital electrons makes a nuclear transformation more likely, not less likely. See wiki on electron capture. $\endgroup$ – sammy gerbil Dec 14 '17 at 13:06
4
$\begingroup$

The helium nucleus is stable, whether it is surrounded by electrons or not. There is no configuration with four nucleons that has a lower energy than the helium nucleus. The binding energies of the electrons around a neutral helium atom are tiny compared even to small nuclear energy differences (like the mass energy difference between a free proton and free neutron).

(Of course, this does not include decays due to new physics processes, such as those that mediate proton decay. If protons are unstable on very long time scales, all nuclei might ultimately be unstable as well.)

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Your final sentence isn't quite true, unless you make some assumptions about proton decay that aren't relevant for this answer. After all, the free neutron is unstable, but that doesn't mean that all nuclei containing neurons are unstable. $\endgroup$ – rob Dec 14 '17 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ (It is only for fun). " nuclei containing neurons" Nuclei with nerwous system. Physics is fascinating! ;-) $\endgroup$ – Przemysław Scherwentke Dec 28 '17 at 2:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.