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The nucleus of the atom of heavy hydrogen, 2H (deuterium). The deuteron d is composed of a proton and a neutron; it is the simplest multinucleon nucleus. Its binding energy is 2.227 MeV; that is, this is the amount of energy which must be added to a deuteron for it to dissociate into a proton and a neutron. Deuterons are much used as projectiles in nuclear bombardment experiments. See Nuclear reaction
the nucleus of the hydrogen atom isotope deuterium; mass number, 2. It is designated by2H, D, or d. A deuteron consists of one proton and one neutron. Its mass is 2.014102 atomic mass units; its nucleon binding energy, 2.22452 ± 0.00010 MeV; its spin, 1 (in ħ units); its magnetic moment, 0.857411 ± 0.000019 nuclear magnetons; and its nuclear electrical quadrupole moment, (2.738 ± 0.014)10-27 cm2.
Since the deuteron is the simplest nucleus containing more than one nucleon, the study of its properties has made it possible to determine the action radius of nuclear forces and to conclude that the interaction between a proton and a neutron in the nucleus does not have the character of a central force but depends on the mutual orientation of their spins. The nucleon spins in the deuteron are parallel. Deuterons (in contrast to protons) absorb neutrons poorly and, at the same time, owing to the closeness in their respective masses, strongly decelerate them. Deuterons are widely used in experimental nuclear physics as bombarding particles and as targets (for example, in the studies of nuclear reactions).