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Chemistry LibreTexts

19.3: Artificially Induced Nuclear Reactions

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  • In 1919 Rutherford performed the first artificial nuclear reaction. He was able to demonstrate that when \(α\) particles are introduced into a closed sample of N2 gas, an occasional collision led to the formation of an isotope of \(\ce{O}\) and the release of a proton:

    \[\ce{_{2}^{4}He + _{7}^{14}N -> _{8}^{17}O + _{1}^{1}H} \label{1}\]

    Since then many thousands of nuclear reactions have been studied, most of them produced by the bombardment of stable forms of matter with a beam of nucleons or light nuclei as projectiles. Particles which have been used for this purpose include protons, neutrons, deuterons (21H) , \(α\) particles, and B, C, N, and O nuclei.