Chemistry
Particle Physics

Which subatomic particle distinguishes one atom from another Explain your answer?

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Wiki User
09/13/2011

The distinguishing subatomic particle of an atom is its proton(s). The atomic number (amu) of an element is equal to the number of protons it has. Therefore if you know the number of protons in a given atom you can identify which element this atom is. Electrons and nuetrons can vary and give you isotopes and ions so they cannot be used as distinguishing factors.