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Nuclear Reactions

  1. Carlos A. Bertulani

Published Online: 15 OCT 2009

DOI: 10.1002/3527600434.eap277.pub2

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics

How to Cite

Bertulani, C. A. 2009. Nuclear Reactions. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. 299–344.

Author Information

  1. Texas A&M University-Commerce, Department of Physics, Commerce, TX, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2009

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Nuclear reactions generate energy in nuclear reactors, in stars, and are responsible for the existence of all elements heavier than hydrogen in the universe. Nuclear reactions denote reactions between nuclei, and between nuclei and other fundamental particles, such as electrons and photons. A short description of the conservation laws and the definition of basic physical quantities is presented, followed by a more detailed account of specific cases: (i) formation and decay of compound nuclei; (ii) direct reactions; (iii) photon and electron scattering; (iv) heavy ion collisions; (v) formation of a quark–gluon plasma; (vi) thermonuclear reactions; (vii) and reactions with radioactive beams. Whenever necessary, basic equations are introduced to help understand general properties of these reactions.


  • scattering;
  • compound nuclei;
  • fusion;
  • heavy ions;
  • thermonuclear reactions;
  • radioactive nuclei;
  • quark–gluon plasma