Nuclear Structure and Stability Arise from Alternating Quarks within Light Nuclei
The atomic nucleus contains protons and neutrons, each made of 3 up or down quarks. No consensus exists on nuclear structure from among the 30+ models of the atomic nucleus. Here we present the Alternating Quark Model (AQM), which proposes a role for quarks in nuclear structure and stability. The uncertainty principle precludes exact localization of quarks; AQM structures are based on average quark positions. Quark sequences within light nuclei assume simple geometries, and resulting radius predictions demonstrate 99% (±1) agreement, and statistical correlation ρ = 0.99 (p<0.001), with accepted radii. Within the model, stable nuclides have nucleon structures (proton-udu, and neutron-dud) that link by quark-quark interactions to maintain an alternating quark sequence, with spacing between linked quarks equaling the radius of the proton (both within and between nucleons). The 18 quarks of Li-6 form a ring, and larger structures contain one or more complete or incomplete Li-6 rings stacked in parallel. Protons on one ring must align with neutrons on a parallel ring (and vice versa) to form closely correlated proton-neutron pairs. We show that structures violating an alternating quark sequence, or lacking proton-neutron pairing between rings, are unstable or don’t exist at all. The deuteron is an open-ended quark sequence whereas heavier nuclides contain quarks enclosed within one or more ring structures. This difference in local environment may account for the EMC effect. Electrostatic forces arising from alternating/unequal quark charges are shown to predict a Coulomb barrier between fusing nuclei. The Coulombic forces of fusing nuclei are then modeled with N/S alternating permanent magnets, yielding a magnetic potential barrier. Finally, we propose a structure for quarks as linked harmonic oscillators, and suggest a mechanism for beta decay.