Physics:Alpha nuclide

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Short description: nuclide made up of alpha particles

An alpha nuclide is a nuclide that consists of an integer number of alpha particles. Alpha nuclides have equal, even numbers of protons and neutrons; they are important in stellar nucleosynthesis since the energetic environment within stars is amenable to fusion of alpha particles into heavier nuclei.[1][2] Stable alpha nuclides, and stable decay products of radioactive alpha nuclides, are some of the most common metals in the universe.

Alpha nuclide is also shorthand for alpha radionuclide, referring to those radioactive isotopes that undergo alpha decay and thereby emit alpha particles.[3]

List of alpha nuclides

Alpha number nuclide Stable/radioactive decay mode half-life[4] product(s) of decay (bold is stable) notes
1 42He Stable
2 84Be Radioactive α 8.19(37)×10−17 s 42He
3 126C Stable
4 168O Stable
5 2010Ne Stable
6 2412Mg Stable
7 2814Si Stable
8 3216S Stable
9 3618Ar Observationally Stable
10 4020Ca Observationally Stable
11 4422Ti Radioactive EC 60.0(11) y 4421Sc → 4420Ca
12 4824Cr Radioactive β+ 21.56(3) h 4823V → 4822Ti
13 5226Fe Radioactive β+ 8.275(8) h 52m25Mn → 5224Cr
14 5628Ni Radioactive β+ 6.075(10) d 5627Co → 5626Fe
15 6030Zn Radioactive β+ 2.38(5) min 6029Cu → 6028Ni

The nuclear binding energy of alpha nuclides heavier than zinc-60 (beginning with germanium-64) is too large for them be formed by fusion processes. (As of 2018), the heaviest known alpha nuclide is xenon-108.[5]


  1. Appenzeller, ed (1998). Astrophysics Library (3rd ed.). New York: Springer. 
  2. Carroll, Bradley W.; Ostlie, Dale A. (2007). An Introduction to Modern Stellar Astrophysics. Addison Wesley, San Francisco. ISBN 978-0-8053-0348-3. 
  3. John Avison (November 2014). The World of Physics. Nelson Thornes. pp. 397–. ISBN 978-0-17-438733-6. 
  4. Audi, G.; Kondev, F. G.; Wang, M.; Huang, W. J.; Naimi, S. (2017). "The NUBASE2016 evaluation of nuclear properties". Chinese Physics C 41 (3): 030001. doi:10.1088/1674-1137/41/3/030001. Bibcode2017ChPhC..41c0001A. 
  5. Auranen, K. (2018). "Superallowed α decay to doubly magic 100Sn". Physical Review Letters 121 (18): 182501. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.182501. PMID 30444390.