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The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle that has the symbol n or n0.

Neutrons have no net electric


charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen-1, the nucleus of
every atom consists of at least one neutron as well as one or more protons. Protons and neutrons are
collectively referred to as "nucleons". Since interacting protons have a mutual electromagnetic repulsion that is
stronger than their attractive nuclear interaction, neutrons are often a necessary constituent within the atomic
nucleus that allows a collection of protons to stay atomically bound (see diproton & neutron-proton
ratio).
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Neutrons bind with protons and one another in the nucleus via the nuclear force, effectively stabilizing it.
The number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom is referred to as its neutron number, which reveals the
specific isotope of that atom. For example, the abundant carbon-12 isotope has 6 protons and 6 neutrons,
whereas the rare radioactive carbon-14 isotope also has 6 protons but, instead, 8 neutrons. Elements may be
found in nature as only one isotope or with as many as 10 isotopes (manganese and tin, respectively).
While the bound neutrons in nuclei can be stable (depending on the nuclide), free neutrons are unstable; they
undergo beta decay with a mean lifetime of just under 15 minutes (881.51.5 s).
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Free neutrons are produced
in nuclear fission and fusion. Dedicated neutron sources like neutron generators, research
reactorsand spallation sources produce free neutrons for use in irradiation and in neutron
scattering experiments. Even though it is not a chemical element, the free neutron is sometimes included in
tables of nuclides.
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