Astrophysics (index)about

alpha process

(alpha ladder)
(synthesization of elements through alpha capture)

The alpha process (or alpha ladder) is a process by which elements are synthesized in high heat (e.g., inside stars) by the combination of an alpha particle (helium nucleus) with another element (e.g., carbon, oxygen, etc.). Repeats of this yields a "ladder" of elements with even-numbered charges from carbon up to iron and beyond. These are the most abundant metals.

In some cases, the nucleus is unstable and beta decay lowers its atomic number by one, which is one way odd-numbered elements are formed.


Referenced by:
asymptotic giant branch (AGB)
alpha capture
alpha element
iron peak
neutron capture
nickel (Ni)
post main sequence star
silicon (Si)
sulfur (S)