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Element with No Protons

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  1. Sep 15, 2015 #1
    I have heard of the tetraneutron, but is it real? Could it have electrons? If so, how unstable would it be? Could fermions not typically in an atom balance this instability?
     
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  3. Sep 15, 2015 #2

    Bystander

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    Google "anti-matter." If semantics are too obvious, try "positronium."
     
  4. Sep 15, 2015 #3
    I was aware of antimatter; however, the keyword positronium was quite helpful. I will post another reply if I have any more questions after reading. Thank you.
     
  5. Sep 16, 2015 #4

    Drakkith

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    Chemical elements have protons by definition, so no, you cannot have an element without any protons. They would be exotic forms of matter though, and they wouldn't be the first.
     
  6. Sep 16, 2015 #5
    Xg


    Chemical elements by definition are the smallest unit of a substance that still retains the substance's properties, not a particle with protons, neutrons, and electrons.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2015
  7. Sep 16, 2015 #6

    Borek

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    Nope, what Drak wrote is perfectly right - an element is a collection of atoms sharing the same chemical properties. Chemical properties are (almost) 100% defined by the charge of the nucleus - that is, by number of protons in the nucleus.

    For light elements number of neutrons plays a secondary role, slightly changing the chemical properties of isotopes, but for most cases these differences are negligible.
     
  8. Sep 16, 2015 #7
    Chemistry focuses most heavily on the interactions of electrons. While we use the properties of the nucleus to tell us how many electrons there will be under certain conditions, and how strongly attracted to the nucleus some electrons will be, the nucleus is not essential for an element that is likely to be very short-lived. If you disagree, I suggest you Google posotronium and tetraneutron.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2015 #8

    Drakkith

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    From the IUPAC's website: http://goldbook.iupac.org/C01022.html

    chemical element
    1. A species of atoms; all atoms with the same number of protons in the atomic nucleus.
    2. A pure chemical substance composed of atoms with the same number of protons in the atomic nucleus. Sometimes this concept is called the elementary substance as distinct from the chemical element as defined under 1, but mostly the term chemical element is used for both concepts.
    So no, you cannot have an element without protons.

    Not as far as we know. Attempts to replicate the results of the experiment which claimed to have detected them have failed.

    Unlikely. Without an electric charge, there's nothing to bind the electrons to the neutrons.

    Almost certainly not. There's nothing to keep these other fermions themselves from being unstable (all other elementary fermions or the composite fermions made up of these elementary particles are unstable).
     
  10. Sep 16, 2015 #9

    Borek

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    Yes, I disagree, and I don't have to google to know what is wrong with your statement. You misuse the word "element". You are trying to classify positrionium as an element, which is just your approach, not shared by anyone else. Not every combination of elementary (and/or composite) particles fits the definition of an element.

    Edit: Drak was slightly faster.
     
  11. Sep 16, 2015 #10

    Borek

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    To add to that - you may want to read about exotic atoms. And no, they still don't count as elements.
     
  12. Sep 16, 2015 #11
    I
    I'm sorry, I was referring to exotic atoms, which are too unstable to be considered elements, but thank you for the answers.
     
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