Modern Physics

what are subatomic particles?

The subatomic particles are those which are smaller than the atom. There are composite particles and elementary particles; On the other hand, it is also known about the existence of virtual particles.

Virtual particles are those that represent the middle step for the disintegration of an unstable particle and exist for a very short period of time.

In the field of physics, there is a division responsible for the study of these subatomic particles, such as nuclear physics and particle physics.

In the case of elementary particles, most of them are not found on Earth under normal conditions, as many are unstable – and tend to decompose quickly.

What is the atom?

The simplest way to define the atom is the smallest particle into which a chemical element can be divided without losing its chemical properties.

Currently, it is known that there are particles much smaller than the atom and that is where subatomic particles enter.

What are subatomic particles?

These particles are divided into elementary particles and composite particles. Many of them are characterized by being stable or unstable, but they all have in common the fact that they occur randomly, thanks to the action of the collision of cosmic rays with the atoms in the atmosphere. The most common and recently found particles are:


The proton may be defined as a subatomic particle which is within the atomic nucleus and which consists of a positive charge (+1 or 1.602 x 10 -19 coulombs).

Although it is a stable particle, there are rare types of proton decay, which generate the emission of free protons.


A neutron can be defined as a subatomic particle that is inside the atomic nucleus and that consists of a neutral electrical charge.

Many claim that the neutron has no charge at all, but actually consists of three fundamental particles known as a quark.


A neutron can be defined as a subatomic particle that is inside the atomic nucleus and that consists of a negative electrical charge.

Electrons can be found not only in the nucleus of an atom, but also in the free state. Thanks to the movement of electrons, there is an electrical current, which generates the energy needed to turn on the electronic devices we currently use.


Quarks are defined as elementary particles that interact to generate nuclear matter and hadrons. Various types of quarks can be combined to create particles such as neutrons and protons.

These subatomic particles are the only ones capable of interacting in such a way that they end up creating another type of particles. They can achieve electromagnetic, gravitational and nuclear interactions.

Are there other types of subatomic particles?

Protons, neutrons, electrons and quarks are not the only subatomic particles found today.

It is known that there are many other elementary and composite particles that, despite their instability, are of great popularity in the world of physics and are widely studied.

Some of them are bosons, leptons, hadrons, neutrinos, meson, among others.

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