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heavy ion

the nucleus of a heavy element. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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heavy ion  
  1. The nucleus of a heavy element, such as gold. Collisions of heavy ions are induced in particle accelerators to explore the internal structure quark structure of the nuclei; recent experiments suggest that the extremely high temperatures generated by such collisions can create a short-lived plasma of quarks and gluons.

  2. A charged microscopic particle that forms when ions attach to a dust mote or similar object.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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