Proton and neutron drip lines
Thoennessen, Michael National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Baumann, Thomas National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Last reviewed:August 2020
- Neutron drip line
- Staggering of drip lines
- Proton drip line
- Charts of nuclides
- Knowledge of drip lines
- Study of exotic nuclei
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Lines on the chart of nuclides that delineate the limits of how many protons and neutrons can be bound within the atomic nucleus. The large variety of atomic nuclei, built up of protons and neutrons, can be classified into three groups: stable nuclei, bound but unstable (that is, radioactive) nuclei, and unbound nuclei. Any combination of protons and neutrons will fall into one of the three groups. Expressed in simple terms, the drip lines delineate the boundary between bound and unbound nuclei. See also: Atomic nucleus; neutron; proton
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