Chapter Head
Table of Contents

Unstable Nuclei

Although the Chart of the Nuclides includes about 2500 different nuclides, current models predict that at least 4000 more could be discovered. The proton and neutron "drip lines" define where nuclei with extreme ratios of neutrons-to-protons (N/Z) are expected to become so unstable that the nuclear forces will no longer allow them to form. Scientists are pushing towards making nuclei at both the proton and neutron drip lines as well as new elements at the high mass end of the Chart of the Nuclides. Element 112 (yet to be named) is the most massive element yet made artificially. Products from its alpha decay chain identified the unknown parent nucleus from only a few nuclei.

  last updated: August 9, 2000 webmaster