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nuclear reaction |
A process, such as fission, fusion, or radioactive decay, in which the structure of an atomic nucleus is altered through release of energy or mass or by being broken apart. See more at fission, fusion.
A reaction that changes the number of protons or neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. There are several kinds of nuclear reactions, including the fragmentation of large nuclei into smaller ones (nuclear fission), the building up of small nuclei into larger ones (nuclear fusion), and changes begun by collisions with elementary particles or other nuclei (as in particle accelerators).
change in the identity or characteristics of an atomic nucleus, induced by bombarding it with an energetic particle. The bombarding particle may be an alpha particle, a gamma-ray photon, a neutron, a proton, or a heavy ion. In any case, the bombarding particle must have enough energy to approach the positively charged nucleus to within range of the strong nuclear force.