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Not-So-Neutral Neutron: Clearer view of neutron reveals charged locales

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11:41am, April 24, 2002

Textbooks say the neutron has no electric charge, but physicists have long suspected that the particle is a more complicated beast. A new accelerator study is helping physicists see clearly an aspect of neutron structure they could only guess at before: Neutrons may be electrically neutral overall but charged at different locations within their tiny volumes.

The new data from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va., reveal a slight positive charge at the neutron's center and a slight negative charge at its surface.

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