Date: Summer 2011
How do you remove a neutron from a atom and what is the
Your question is really too vague to be answerable other than
very hypothetically. The answer depends on what atom, and for what
purpose you want to do this.
If your goal is simply to observe radioactive decay, then you are in
luck. There are many atoms which are radioactive, and will naturally
shed neutrons. However, radioactivity can be very dangerous, so I would
strongly advise you to contact an expert before handling any
radioactive material and be sure to protect yourself appropriately.
Observing the decay requires special tools as well -- it is not
"visible". Again, your first step here is to contact an expert.
If your goal is to have a purified sample of a specific isotope, you
are better off starting with a mixed sample and separating out the
isotope you desire. Depending on the element, this can be done
chemically or physically, but is neither easy nor cheap.
If your goal is to use the neutrons for some experiment, then a neutron
source is your best bet. However, those facilities required substantial
scientific credentials and also come with substantial cost.
I should also say that based on the vagueness of your question, I am
concerned that your pursuit might be based on a scientific
misconception -- perhaps if you shared a little more detail on your
objective I could be of more help.
Hope this helps,
You start with a radioactive isotope of an element, for
example, 235U instead of 238U. Enrich and separate the 235U. If this is
done well, you just re-invented the atomic bomb. I don't know of any
"cheap way" to do this.
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Update: June 2012