Nitrogen-9 nucleus

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Scientists discovered hints of the new isotope called nitrogen-9, by smashing beams of oxygen isotopes into beryllium atoms in the U.S. National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

About Nitrogen-9 nucleus

  • It is characterised by seven protons and two neutrons – which is an unusually high proton-to-neutron ratio.
  • This disparity has a critical effect on the isotope’s stability, influencing its decay processes as well as overall behaviour.
  • For one, the high proton content places nitrogen-9 atoms beyond the conventional stability thresholds. 
  • Most nitrogen comes as the isotope nitrogen-14, with seven protons and seven neutrons. But physicists say they have glimpsed a far more elusive variant with just two neutrons.

What are Isotopes?

  • These are atoms of a given element that vary only in the number of neutrons. This difference sets apart one isotope from another.
  • Many isotopes are also unstable, especially those whose atoms have too few neutrons for the number of protons.
  • Unstable isotopes are short-lived, and often decay by releasing some energy to achieve a more stable configuration.

What are nuclides?

  • It is an analogous table for atomic nuclei characterised by a unique combination of protons and neutrons.
  • A table or chart of nuclides is a two-dimensional graph of isotopes of the elements.
  • One axis shows the number of neutrons (N) and the other shows the number of protons (Z) in each atomic nucleus.
  • Each point on the graph denotes a nuclide.

Q1) What are Neutrons?

Neutrons are electrically neutral particles with mass approximately equal to that of a hydrogen atom. High-energy neutrons are emitted from a chemical source. The neutrons collide with nuceli of the formation minerals in elastic-type collisions. 

Source: Strong evidence’ unusual nitrogen-9 nucleus exists, scientists say