Japanese scientists have discovered a completely new form of oxygen


Japanese scientists have discovered an entirely new form of oxygen.


The discovery of two extremely unstable oxygen isotopes, oxygen-27 and oxygen-28, by a team of researchers led by nuclear physicist Yosuke Kondo from the Tokyo Institute of Technology has challenged our understanding of the world of nucleons in physics. Here are the key points:

  1. Isotope Variation: Isotopes are variations of an element with the same number of protons but differing numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. Oxygen, for instance, always has 8 protons, but its isotopes can have varying numbers of neutrons.

  2. Shell Structures: Inside the atomic nucleus, nucleons (protons and neutrons) are arranged in shells, similar to electron shells in the nuclear model. As these shells are filled with nucleons, they reach a stable configuration.

  3. Magic Numbers: Certain combinations of protons and neutrons, such as 8 and 20, are considered “magic” because they result in a stable shell configuration. These numbers are believed to provide stability to atomic nuclei.

  4. Double Magic: “Double magic” refers to a combination of magic numbers. For example, oxygen-16, which has 8 protons and eight neutrons, is considered double Magic. Such combinations are expected to be highly stable.

  5. Unexpected Instability: The discovery of oxygen-28, with 8 protons and 20 neutrons, as an extremely unstable isotope, challenges the expectation of stability based on the double magic combination.

  6. Inversion Islands: This phenomenon is reminiscent of “inversion islands” observed in elements like sodium, neon, and magnesium, where the expected stability doesn’t conform to calculations.

  7. Questions for Nucleon Structure: The discovery raises questions about the structure of complex nuclei in chemical elements and the factors that determine stability.

  8. Future Research: Scientists aim to explore higher energy states of nuclei better to understand the behavior of nucleons and nuclear structure.

In essence, the discovery of these unstable oxygen isotopes challenges our understanding of the stability of atomic nuclei and calls for further research into the complex world of nucleons in physics.

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