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Nuclear Physics

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Nuclear Physics

Selected Topics

4 – Nuclear Reactions

- The structure of nuclei can be changed by bombarding them with energetic particles.
- The changes are called nuclear reactions.

- As with nuclear decays, the atomic numbers and mass numbers must balance on both sides of the equation.

Alpha particle colliding with nitrogen:

Balancing the equation allows for the identification of X:

So the reaction is

“Target” particles may be bombarded with

a, neutrons, protons, deuterons, gamma.

General scheme:

a + X Y + b

Energy released:

Q = (Ma + MX – My – Mb).c2

Calculate Q for some reactions.

Dm (in u) = 1.007825 + 7.016003 – (2)(4.002602)

= 1.8624 u = 17.3 meV

This energy is the kinetic energy of the products.

Calculate Q for some reactions.

Dm = 1.007825 + 7.016003 – 7.016928 – 1.008665

= -.001765 u = -1.644 meV

The incident particle must have a minimum kinetic energy.

Here, m = 1.007825 u and M = 7.016003 u.