ALPHA STEP and ALPHA STEP+2

Three nuclear growth patterns that made it possible to decipher nuclear structure.

  1. The Deuteron step (hydrogen to oxygen)
  2. The Alpha Step (lighter elements - oxygen to argon)
  3. The Alpha Step + 2 (heavier elements - argon to ....... )

Understanding these patterns are the key to understanding nuclear structure.

  • These growth patterns resemble building structure and maintaining a delicate balance while building that structure.
  • The next clue was why gaps exist at times where two protons or two neutrons need to be added at the same time to maintain stability.
  • The final clues was, “There cannot be an unlimited number of electrically neutral neutrons added to the nucleus.”

THE ALPHA STEP (light elements - oxygen to argon) is the second primary method used to builds the stable nucleus for elements. The alpha step is: Add two neutrons to form the next two stable isotopes, followed by adding two protons which forms the next two stable elements. The two types of alpha steps are the dominant method for incrementing from one stable nucleus to the next. See the figure below.

Alpha Step from oxygen to argon
Alpha Step+2 nuclei heavier than argon

The alpha step can be demonstrated by following the first alpha step which starts with oxygen16.

  1. Oxygen16 has 8 protons and 8 neutrons, what single nucleon can be added to oxygen16 to form a stable nucleus? A proton - NO. A neutron - YES. Which makes oxygen17.
  2. Oxygen17 has 8 protons and 9 neutrons, what single nucleon can be added to oxygen17 to form a stable nucleus? A proton - NO. A neutron - YES. Which makes oxygen18.
  3. Oxygen18 has 8 protons and 10 neutrons, what single nucleon can be added to oxygen18 to form a stable nucleus? A proton - YES. A neutron - NO. Which makes fluorine19.
  4. Fluorine19 has 9 protons and 10 neutrons, what single nucleon can be added to fluorine19 to form a stable nucleus? A proton - YES. A neutron - NO. Which makes neon20.

The second alpha step series starts with neon20.

  1. This preceding pattern repeats from neon20, to neon21, to neon22, to sodium23, and finally to magnesium24. This series continues for a total of five additional alpha step to argon36
  2. Alpha step series three progresses from magnesium24, to magnesium25, to magnesium26, to aluminum27, and to silicon28.
  3. Alpha step series four from silicon28, to silicon29, to silicon30, to phosphorus31, and to sulfur32.
  4. And alpha step series five from sulfur32, to sulfur33. To sulfur34, to chlorine35 and to argon36

Argon consist of nine alpha particles. These nine alpha particles are used to create three rings of three alpha particles each, which forms the primary core of the nucleus. This core is used as a foundation that the subsequent elements and isotopes are built on.

The description given here is very abbreviated. To follow the complete building of the nucleus, the reader should follow the detailed line presented in the section on the Nuclear Valley of Stability.

THE ALPHA STEP + 2 (elements heavier than argon) is the third primary method used to builds the stable nucleus for elements heaver than zinc. Titanium is an exception. On the heavy end of the Valley of Stability The Alpha Step is modified so the 2 neutrons can be 4 neutrons. The important point is that after the Deuteron Step the number of protons and neutron added are always an even number of nucleons.

The alpha steps between oxygen and argon are building alpha particles that form the central core of the nucleus. Between argon and zinc the alpha step + 2 progression represents symmetrical building of deuterons on the outside of the nuclear core. This creates a star like nuclear structure that which resembles alpha particles radiating out from the center. The star phase culminates with the nucleus of zinc.

Nickel 62 the last element to give up energy when it is formed the full star structure is almost complete. The binding energy of zinc is 0.4 percent less than the binding energy of nickel. Progressing along the path of stability the closure of phases requires a little extra energy. Progressing along the path of stability the closure for phase requires a little extra energy. It takes energy to complete or fit in these last nucleons as the final parts of this star like structure.

The next process of this progression in nuclear building is the closing of the star point to form six outside six sided loops that are like the core structure. The closing of each of the loops is achieved with alpha particles.

The CONCLUSION is that the structure of a stable nucleus is BALANCED. This will become more evident with the progression through and along this model.

During the building of the first carbon ring the alternating of neutron and proton balances the electrical charges and also endeavors to balance the lattice structure.

The shift at Oxygen from one neutron and then one proton too two neutrons and then two protons represent the maintenance of nuclear lattice balance because it is necessary to add two neutrons and then two protons to both sides of the nucleus radially through the nuclear center. This maintains balance by placing these nucleons both above and below the core as well as on the left and right side of the core. This type of balancing becomes apparent because in several places it is necessary to add two nucleons for the next stable element’s or isotope’s nucleus to form.

An interesting requirement for the addition of double neutrons to the nucleus is important in understanding the final nuclear structure. The key is, double nucleons, not just double neutrons. There are two places where double protons are also needed, technetium (Tc) and promethium (Pm).

For protons this imbalance is expressed at Tc and Pm, because both Tc and Pm have odd numbers of protons making balance difficult. The imbalance enigma is also obvious for nuclei having odd neutron counts at the following number of neutrons of 19, 21, 35, 39, 45, 61, 71, 89, 115, and 123. This balance phenomenon also explains the dominance of even-even stable nuclei over odd-even and even-odd stable nuclei plus the fact that the only odd-odd stable nuclei are for elements lighter than oxygen. This lighter than oxygen effects for odd-odd nucleus is also a phenomena related to the balance that is required during the building of the first carbon ring.

  • Charge balance between the quarks in protons and neutrons.
  • Structural balance of the lattice structure of the nuclei.
  • Balance top to bottom, left to right, and front to back.
  • Maximum spin balance and magnetic dipole balance.