Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How come there are no neutron atoms?

  1. Jan 19, 2010 #1
    Straight forward question. What would prevent the process of a giant lump of neutrons from forming a stable nucleus?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The strong nuclear force
    Because neutrons have the same spin they cannot occupy the same energy level, so a nucleus of just neutrons can't get into the lowest energy state and so isn't stable,

    Neutron stars could be thought of as a single nucleus of just neutrons - but they need gravity (and a lot of it) to hold them together
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  4. Jan 19, 2010 #3

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There has been some talk about an element 0 - a nucleus with only neutrons. Wiki has some things to say on this neutronium element.
     
  5. Jan 19, 2010 #4

    mathman

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Stand alone neutrons decay into proton + electron + neutrino.
     
  6. Jan 19, 2010 #5
    O.K,what sort of "atom" should we get from an uncharged nucleus?.What sort of chemistry would you expect?.Study the issue.Read Pais,"Inward Bound" and study the references at the chapter ends.Imagine a world with electromagnetism "switched-off",and then compare the proton/neutron.Are they different in such a world?,...,why is the quark-model such a good classification scheme?.Read Riordan "The Hunting Of The Quark".Study,...
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook