What are the elementary particles of nuclear physics?

1 Answer
Aug 18, 2016

The elementary particles are bosons, leptons and quarks


Bosons are force carrier particles which have spin integer spin.

The photon, which is its own antiparticle and spin 1, mediate the electromagnetic force.

The W boson, which can have a positive or a negative charge, are responsible for the weak nuclear force which can turn protons into neutrons or vice versa.

There is also a Z boson, which is its own antiparticle, which is responsible for transferring momentum during neutrino scattering.

The Higgs boson is a spin 0 particle which gives other particles mass.

Gluons mediate the colour force which bind quarks into baryons. They have three colours (not actual colours) red, green and blue. The strong nuclear force is a residual effect of the colour force.

Leptons and spin 1/2 particles and consists of the electron #e^-#, the muon #mu^-# and the taon #tau^-#, each of which has a corresponding neutrino #nu_e, nu_mu, nu_tau#. Each has an antiparticle.

Quarks come in pairs of three flavours: up and down, strange and charm, top and bottom. They have charges of #+-1/3 or +-2/3# and spin 1/2. Pairs of quarks form mesons and triplets form baryons such as the proton and neutron.