Topic 2: Introduction to Nuclear Energy – Step 6
From Atoms to the Chart of Nuclides
In this chapter, you’ll be introduced to the Chart of Nuclides, an important tool for nuclear physics.
A chart or table of nuclides (capitalization optional) is a simple map to the nuclear, or radioactive, behaviour of nuclides, as it distinguishes the isotopes of an element. It contrasts with a periodic table, which only maps their chemical behavior, since isotopes of the same element do not differ chemically. Nuclide charts organize isotopes along the X axis by their numbers of neutrons and along the Y axis by their numbers of protons, out to the limits of the neutron and proton drip lines. This representation was first published by Giorgio Fea in 1935, and expanded by Emilio Segrè in 1945 or G. Seaborg. In 1958, Walter Seelmann-Eggebert and Gerda Pfennig published the first edition of the Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart. Its 7th edition was made available in 2006. Today, one finds several nuclide charts, four of them have a wide distribution: the Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart, the Strasbourg Universal Nuclide Chart, the Chart of the Nuclides from the JAEA and the Nuclide Chart from Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. It has become a basic tool of the nuclear community.