Nuclear Reactions– changing the hearts of atoms
A nuclide, A, when bombarded by energetic subatomic particles, a, changes to another nuclide is called a nuclear reaction. The energetic particles a either from radioactive decays or from particle accelerators. Often, the products consist of light particles b and another nuclide B. The reaction can be written as
a + A B + b.
This reaction is often written in a short form,
A (a, b) B,
where a and b may be an , , , neutron, proton, deuterium, a nuclide, or high-energy electron. An exothermic nuclear reaction releases energy, and an endothermic nuclear reaction requires energy. The energy required in an endothermic reaction can be supplied in the form of kinetic energy (of the incident particle a).