How Do the Nucleons Pack in an Atomic Nucleus?


A nuclear structure model of “ring plus extra nucleon” is proposed. For nuclei larger than 4He, protons (P) and neutrons (N) are basically bound alternatively to form a ZP + ZN ring. The ring folds with a “bond angle” of 90° for every 3 continuous nucleons to make the nucleons packed densely. Extra N(‘s) can bind to ring-P with the same “bond angle” and “bond distance”. When 2 or more P’s are geometrically available, the extra N tends to be stable. Extra P can bind with ring N in a similar way when the ratio of N/P < 1 although the binding is weaker than that of extra N. Even-Z rings, as well as normal even-even nuclei, always have superimposed gravity centers of P and N; while for odd-Z rings, as well as all odd-A (A: number of nucleon) nuclei, the centers of P and N must be eccentric. The eccentricity results in a depression of binding energy (EB) and therefore odd and even Z dependent zigzag features of EB/A. This can be well explained by the shift of eccentricity by extra nucleons. Symmetrical center may present in even-Z rings and normal even-even nuclei. While for odd-Z ring, only antisymmetric center (every P can find an N through the center and vice versa) is possible. Based on this model, a pair of mirror nuclei, PX+nNX and PXNX+n, should be equivalent in packing structure just like black-white photo and the negative film. Therefore, an identical spin and parity was confirmed for any pair. In addition, the EB/A difference of mirror nuclei pair is nearly a constant of 0.184n MeV. Many other facts can also be easily understood from this model, such as the neutron halo, the unusual stability sequence of 9Be, 7Be and 8Be and so on.

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Li, X. , Liu, Q. , Li, G. , Li, Y. and Chu, Z. (2014) How Do the Nucleons Pack in an Atomic Nucleus?. World Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, 4, 237-248. doi: 10.4236/wjnst.2014.44030.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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