Nitrogen-9 isotope

Facts for Prelims

Nitrogen-9 isotope

News: Recently, Scientists have discovered “strong evidence” for the existence of the unusual nitrogen-9 isotope.

• Nitrogen-9 is an ultra-rare isotope of nitrogen that contains seven protons and two neutrons. It only exists for one billionth of a nanosecond. This is such a minute amount of time that it is difficult for scientists to agree if this really is an atomic isotope or not.
• Referred to as a “fleeting nucleus,” the ratio of subatomic particles is so “lopsided” that it falls apart as quickly as it forms. Yet, despite its incredibly brief existence, many physicists agree it “counts” as a nucleus.
• If we can understand what is happening with incredibly short-lived nuclei like nitrogen-9, scientists are hopeful we could expand our current understanding of nuclear theory.
• Since nitrogen-9 is not an ordinary nucleus and disintegrates too rapidly to be filtered out using a mass spectrometer, a new method was needed to find it. This discovery could open many doors in the field of nuclear physics.

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