May 29, 2020

A nuclear periodic table

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

There has been plenty of empirical evidence which shows that the single-particle picture holds to a good approximation in atomic nuclei. In this picture, protons and neutrons move independently inside a mean-field potential generated by an interaction among the nucleons. This leads to the concept of nuclear shells, similar to the electronic shells in atoms. In particular, the magic numbers due to closures of the nucleonic shells, corresponding to noble gases in elements, have been known to play an important role in nuclear physics. Here we propose a periodic table for atomic nuclei, in which the elements are arranged according to the known nucleonic shells. The nuclear periodic table clearly indicates that nuclei in the vicinity of the magic numbers can be understood in terms of a shell closure with one or two additional nucleons or nucleon holes, while nuclei far from the magic numbers are characterized by nuclear deformation.

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