The proton is a subatomic particle with an electric charge of +1 elementary charge. It is often found in the nucleus of an
atom but is also stable by itself and has a second identity as the hydrogen ion, H+. It is composed of 3 even more
fundamental particles comprising two up quarks and one down quark.
Protons are spin-1/2 fermions and are composed of three quarks, making them baryons. The two up quarks and one
down quark of the proton are held together by the strong force, mediated by gluons.
Protons and neutrons are both nucleons, which may be bound by the nuclear force into atomic nuclei. The nucleus of the
most common isotope of the hydrogen atom is a single proton (it contains no neutrons). The nuclei of heavy hydrogen
(deuterium and tritium) contain neutrons. All other types of atoms are composed of two or more protons and various
numbers of neutrons. The number of protons in the nucleus determines the chemical properties of the atom and thus
which chemical element is represented; it is the number of both neutrons and protons in a nuclide which determine the
particular isotope of an element.
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