Nuclear Stability

  • Bogdan Povh
  • Klaus Rith
  • Christoph Scholz
  • Frank Zetsche
  • Werner Rodejohann
Part of the Graduate Texts in Physics book series (GTP)


Stable nuclei only occur in a very narrow band in the Z - N plane. All other nuclei are unstable and decay spontaneously in various ways discussed in this chapter. In β-decay, a weak interaction process, a neutron (proton) is converted into a proton (neutron); α-decay is the emission of a4He nucleus; spontaneous nuclear fission of a nucleus can happen if the nuclei are very heavy while induced nuclear fission may be caused by the injection of a low energy neutron into a heavy nucleus; excited nuclear states produced in such reactions may decay electromagnetically by photon emission.


Heavy Nucleus Neutron Capture Beta Decay Daughter Nucleus Giant Dipole Resonance 
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    Particle Data Group, J. Beringer et al., Review of particle properties. Phys. Rev. D 86, 010001 (2012)Google Scholar
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    E. Segrè, Nuclei and Particles (Benjamin, New York, 1977)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bogdan Povh
    • 1
  • Klaus Rith
    • 2
  • Christoph Scholz
    • 3
  • Frank Zetsche
    • 4
  • Werner Rodejohann
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für KernphysikHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department PhysikUniversität Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.SAP AGWalldorfGermany
  4. 4.DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbHLangenGermany

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