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Is it possible to build atoms?

  1. Jun 1, 2013 #1
    Is it possible to "build" atoms?

    Was just thinking to myself, the world running out of resources etc... the most basic form of matter is the 3 subatomic particles... and all matter is made up of them. i did some googling but couldnt find much so im wondering if one day it would be possible to effectively build atoms? so if we run out of say iron... take some other garbage we dont want, split it apart and put together 13 protons, 13 neutrons and 26 electrons and basically manufacture it?
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  3. Jun 2, 2013 #2


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    I think you need to look at the Standard Model of elementary particles. The world is not made up of just protons, neutrons, and electrons. For example, what is a muon made up of? What about the various mesons in the particle data book?

  4. Jun 2, 2013 #3


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    Nuclear Chemistry is an important field of study. Yes, new atoms can be created by bombarding existing atoms to create new, larger and more massive atoms. They are normally unstable and decay quickly, but our periodic table is still growing!

    “In chemistry, a synthetic element is a chemical element that does not occur naturally on Earth, and can only be created artificially. So far, 20 synthetic elements have been created (those with atomic numbers 99–118).”

    “Scientists closer to a more stable superheavy element
    Six new isotopes of man-made element 114 are found at Berkeley.”
    October 29, 2010|By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times

    In fact, more recently even heavier ones have been created, but I haven't spent the time to locate articles.
  5. Jun 2, 2013 #4


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    It is possible, but the costs are several orders of magnitude too high to make this interesting for natural nuclei. For some short-living radioisotopes which cannot be found in nature, this is done already. Technetium-99 is a prominent example.
  6. Jun 3, 2013 #5
    a prime example is turning lead into gold through nuclear reactions, its too expensive to be practical and the gold would be unstable (radioactive) this was done by Glen Seaborg
  7. Jun 5, 2013 #6


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    We have very limited control over nuclear reactions. We basically have to bombard particles together and maybe some of what we want comes out, among various other particles that will come out. Some nuclei are easier to create, because we can take advantage of known fusion or fission reaction pathways which will generate a certain product with higher probability. But other nuclei, especially heavier ones, are only generated a small fraction of the time.
  8. Jun 7, 2013 #7


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