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The neutron is an elementary particle that has the symbol n, no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen-1, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of protons in a nucleus is the atomic number and defines the type of element the atom forms. The number of neutrons is the neutron number and determines the isotope of an element. For example, the abundant carbon-12 isotope has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, whereas the very rare radioactive carbon-14isotope has 6 protons and 8 neutrons

Neutrons are involved in examination or analysis techniques like neutron radiography, autoradiography, neutron activation analysis, neutron diffraction.

Synonyms and related terms

neutron (Deut., Fr.)


Similarly to X-rays, gamma rays, beta particles, neutrons are dangerous for the human health.

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