Notation of nuclear reactions

Notation of nuclear reactions

Standard nuclear notation shows (see picture) the chemical symbol, the mass number and the atomic number of the isotope.

If the initial nuclei are denoted by a and b, and the product nuclei are denoted by c and d, the reaction can be represented by the equation:

 a + b → c + d

boron-neutron reaction
This equation describes neutron capture in the boron, which is diluted in the coolant. Boric acid is used in nuclear power plants as a long-term compensator of nuclear fuel reactivity.
Notation of nuclei
Notation of nuclei
Source: chemwiki.ucdavis.edu

Instead of using the full equations in the style above, in many situations a compact notation is used to describe nuclear reactions. This style of the form a(b,c)d is equivalent to a + b producing c + d. Light particles are often abbreviated in this shorthand, typically p means proton, n means neutron, d means deuteron, α means an alpha particle or helium-4, β means beta particle or electron, γ means gamma photon, etc. The reaction above would be written as 10B(n,α)7Li.

Notation of nuclear reactions - radioactive decays
Notation of nuclear reactions – radioactive decays
Source: chemwiki.ucdavis.edu