Glossary of Scientific Terms

Proton

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Proton Emission

After proton emission, an atom contains one less proton.

Proton emission is one process that unstable atoms can use to become more stable. During proton emission, a proton is ejected from an atom's nucleus.

Since an atom loses a proton during proton emission, it changes from one element to another. For example, after undergoing proton emission, an atom of nitrogen (with 7 protons) becomes an atom of carbon (with 6 protons).