Schematic view of the neutron capture process by a nucleus.
University of Oregon

The Neutron Capture Process

Neutron capture can occur when a neutron approaches a nucleus close enough for nuclear forces to be effective. The neutron is captured and forms a heavier isotope of the capturing element.

When the new isotope is unstable the neutron decays into a proton (beta decay)) with the emission of an electron and of a neutrino. The following movies illustrate two neutron capture processes and subsequent element transmutation.


Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Cool It! is the new card game from the Union of Concerned Scientists that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change—and how policy and technology decisions made today will matter. Cool It! is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Neutron

A neutron is a sub-atomic (meaning it is smaller than an atom) particle. The nucleus of an atom is made up of neutrons and protons. Neutrons and protons are almost exactly the same size (a neutron has...more

Atomic Nucleus

Atoms are composed of a massive, central nucleus surrounded by a swarm of fast-moving electrons. The nucleus is made up of protons and, in most cases, neutrons. Almost all of the mass (more than 99%) of...more

The Nuclear Force

The protons in the nucleus of an atom are positively charged. If protons interact, they are usually repelled (pushed apart) by the electromagnetic force. However, when two or more nuclei come very close...more

Fusion Inside the Stars

Fusion in the core of the stars is achieved when the density and temperature arising from the gravitational pressure are high enough. There are different fusion cycles that occur in different phases of...more

The Hydrogen Fusion Process

The basic Hydrogen fusion cycle involves four Hydrogen nuclei (protons) and two electrons and yields a Helium nucleus, two neutrinos and six photons. This process occurs in three steps: the first one is...more

The Neutron Capture Process

Neutron capture can occur when a neutron approaches a nucleus close enough for nuclear forces to be effective. The neutron is captured and forms a heavier isotope of the capturing element. When the new...more

The Supernova

A Supernova is a very massive star that explodes at the end of its life cycle. The supernova is the furnace where the heavy elements (heavier than iron) are formed by neutron capture. ...more

IMF

IMF stands for Interplanetary Magnetic Field. It is another name for the Sun's magnetic field. The Sun's magnetic field is enormous and is carried by the solar wind. The solar wind and magnetic field are...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA