Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Many Neutrons Can An Atom Hold?

The answer to this question is still being studied after this latest report. A group at Michigan State has managed to create isotopes of Mg40 and Al42 (link may be available for free for a limited time). These are neutron-rich atoms that contain more neutrons that was originally thought possible.

They have sent atoms crashing into one another in a particle accelerator to create bloated versions of the elements aluminium and magnesium. The new, artificial forms of these metals have many more neutrons in their atomic nuclei than do the everyday versions.

Exact citation to the paper is:

T. Baumann et al., Nature v449, p.1022 (2007).

A similar news report can be found at PhysicsWorld website. Registration (free) is required.


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