We have suspected for some time that the atomic nucleus need not remain a tightly bound, compact, spherical object, but might show a cluster substructure. Recent experimental advances, backed by new quantum mechanical models, are now revealing a wide variety of clustering ranging from dumbbell nuclei to lon chains of alpha particles. We are also beginning to understand how valence nucleons can form molecular type orbits between these clusters to provide additional stability.
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|Published - 1999