Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Needleless vaccine will protect children from dangerous viruses

Orally administered vaccine can protect millions from hepatitis B. Oral vaccines are both safer and less expensive than injections. Therefore, researchers are continuously pursuing ways to produce an oral vaccine that is ...

Medical research

New diagnostic imaging techniques deemed safe in simulations

Gamma and neutron imaging offer possible improvements over existing techniques such as X-ray or CT, but their safety is not yet fully understood. Using computer simulations, imaging the liver and breast with gamma or neutron ...

Medical research

Neutrons used to study model vascular systems

In what may be the first use of neutron scattering to study complex bio-medical systems under dynamic conditions, Los Alamos researchers and collaborators mimicked blood flow by engineering a layer of human endothelial cells ...

Oncology & Cancer

Radionuclide treatment against small tumors and metastases

Medicine could very soon have a new ally in the fight against cancer: Terbium-161. Its most important weapon: Conversion and Auger electrons. Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have developed a new treatment ...

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The neutron is a subatomic particle with no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton.

Neutrons are usually found in atomic nuclei. The nuclei of most atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of protons in a nucleus is the atomic number and defines the type of element the atom forms. The number of neutrons determines the isotope of an element. For example, the carbon-12 isotope has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, while the carbon-14 isotope has 6 protons and 8 neutrons.

While bound neutrons in stable nuclei are stable, free neutrons are unstable; they undergo beta decay with a lifetime of just under 15 minutes (885.7 ± 0.8 s). Free neutrons are produced in nuclear fission and fusion. Dedicated neutron sources like research reactors and spallation sources produce free neutrons for the use in irradiation and in neutron scattering experiments.

Even though it is not a chemical element, the free neutron is sometimes included in tables of nuclides. It is then considered to have an atomic number of zero and a mass number of one.

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