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Electron band structure in a nucleus

  1. Sep 13, 2005 #1
    Consider a nucleus with N neutrons and Z protons. Can one justify it alternatively as a nucleus with N + Z protons and N electrons, the latter occupying orbitals either confined to the nucleus or following beta decay according to their electronic potential?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2005 #2


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    The standard model of atoms is that they consist of a nucleus and electrons. Experiments all bear out this model. For example, the radius of the nucleus is very much smaller than the radius of an atom.
  4. Sep 14, 2005 #3


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    No, this alternative view can not be justified. There are several problems with this. For instance, you have proposed a non-zero lepton number for the nucleus.

    Besides, the term "band structure" is not used in the context of single-atom orbitals; but to describe the spectrum formed by the overlap of a macroscopic number of orbitals, arranged periodically.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2005
  5. Sep 14, 2005 #4


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    This was in fact an early model of the nucleus, but it had serious problems with (a) the apparent lack of energy conservation in beta decay, (b) its inability to account for the overall spin of certain nuclei, and (c) the problem of how to confine electrons within a volume the size of the nucleus despite the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

    These problems were resolved c. 1930 by (a) Pauli's "invention" of the neutrino, (b) the discovery of the neutron, and (c) Fermi's theory of beta decay as the conversion of a neutron into a proton, with the emission of a newly-created electron and (anti)neutrino.

    And of course nowadays we have huge mountains of data from nuclear and particle physics experiments, all analyzed under the assumption that nuclei contain protons and neutrons, and producing consistent results.
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