Neutron–proton ratio

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Neutron-proton ratio (N/Z ratio or nuclear ratio) is the ratio of the number of neutrons to protons in an atomic nucleus. The ratio generally increases with increasing atomic numbers due to increasing nuclear charge due to repulsive forces of protons. Light elements, up to calcium (Z = 20), have stable isotopes with N/Z ratio of one except for beryllium (N/Z ratio=1.25), and every element with odd proton numbers from fluorine to potassium. Hydrogen-1 (N/Z ratio=0) and helium-3 (N/Z ratio=0.5) are the only stable isotopes with neutron–proton ratio under one. Uranium-238 and plutonium-244 have the highest N/Z ratios of any primordial nuclide at 1.587 and 1.596, respectively, while lead-208 has the highest N/Z ratio of any known stable isotope at 1.537.

Isotope half-lives. Note that the plot for stable isotopes diverges from the line Z = N as the element number Z becomes larger


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