Compound Nucleus Hypothesis & Nuclear Reactions

In this complete tutorial, we will discuss Compound Nucleus hypothesis and its application in various nuclear reactions. A nuclear reaction is the process of strong interaction of atomic nucleus with an elementary particle resulting in the formation of the new nucleus and one or more new particles.

The nuclear reaction occurs when the interacting nucleus and the particle approach each other up to a distance of the order of 10-15 m. An equation representing nuclear reaction can be written as :

                                                               X + a   ———>   Y + b
where,  X = initial nucleus
             a = initial interacting particle
             Y= final nucleus
             b = final particle
The above equation can be represented as X( a, b ) Y. Nuclear reactions are usually attended by the liberation or absorption of energy known as reaction energy or disintegration energy.

Compound Nucleus Hypothesis

Bohr in 1936 proposed Compound Nucleus Hypothesis for nuclear reactions. According to it, many nuclear reaction proceeds in two separate stages:
  • The incident particle strikes the initial nucleus ( target nucleus) and these two first combine to form a new nucleus called compound nucleus. The atomic number & atomic mass of the compound nucleus is the sum of atomic mass & the atomic number of incident particle & target nucleus.
  • The compound nucleus immediately breaks up by ejecting a particle or gamma rays leaving the final or product nucleus. e.g. The Rutherford’s reaction can be written as :
Compound Nucleus Hypothesis
N & He particles combine to form a compound nucleus 9F(18) which after ejecting a proton forms final product as 8O17 and 1H1.
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