Saturday, November 26, 2022

A nuclear periodic table could offer new insights on the building blocks of the universe

Special elemental magic.

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Physicists from Kyoto University have unveiled a new nuclear periodic table in which the elements are arranged according to the known nucleonic shells. The nuclear periodic table indicates that nuclei in the vicinity of the magic numbers can be understood in terms of a shell closure with one or two additional nucleons or nucleon holes, while nuclei far from the magic numbers are characterized by nuclear deformation.

Unlike the traditional table, which is based on the behavior of electrons in an atom, This new table is found on the protons in the nucleus.

Yoshiteru Maeno, one of the co-developers of the new table, said“The periodic table of the elements is one of the most significant achievements in science, and in its familiar form it is based on the shell structure of electron orbitals in atoms. But atoms are comprised of two types of charged particles that designate each element: electrons orbiting the core and protons in the core itself.”

“Fundamentally, it comes down to the electrons in each atom. Atoms are considered to be stable when electrons fill their ‘shell’ of orbits around the nucleus.”

“So-called ‘noble gases,’ inert elements such as helium, neon, and argon, rarely react with other elements. Their most stable electron numbers are 2, 10, 18, 36, and so on.”

“These numbers can be described as atomic ‘magic numbers,’ and importantly, the same principle can also be applied to protons.”

Protons have different stable magic numbers: 2, 8, 20, 28, and so on. Among these are familiar elements such as helium, oxygen, and calcium. The Nucletouch table places these ‘magic nuclei’ at its center, providing a new perspective on the elements.

Kouichi Hagino said, “Similar to electrons when nuclear orbits are filled with protons; they form stable nuclei, analogous to the noble-gas elements. In our nuclear periodic table, we also see that nuclei tend to be spherically-shaped near the magic numbers but deformed as you move away from them.”

Collaborator Kouichi Hagino said, “Similar to electrons when nuclear orbits are filled with protons; they form stable nuclei, analogous to the noble-gas elements. In our nuclear periodic table, we also see that nuclei tend to be spherically-shaped near the magic numbers but deformed as you move away from them.”

Scientists created the table to highlight alternative ways to illustrate the laws of nature and hopes that enthusiasts and academics alike will find something to enjoy and learn from this fresh new look at an old friend.

Journal Reference:
  1. Hagino, K. et al., A nuclear periodic table. DOI: 10.1007/s10698-020-09365-5
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