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Last updated date: 28th May 2024
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What is Protium?

Protium is the basic hydrogen atom with a single proton circled by a single electron. An isotope of an element is defined as an atom that has a similar number of protons but with a differential number of neutrons. Protium is given as the regular version of hydrogen and can be represented by the letter-H. Protium also contains one proton and zero neutrons. At the same time, deuterium contains one neutron and one proton – unlike the common hydrogen atom, which has one proton, one electron, and zero neutrons.

It can be defined as the basic hydrogen or H-atom that has a single proton encircled by a single electron. An isotope can be defined as an atom that has the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons or neutral ions. Protium is very similar to hydrogen and is also written as H. It has only one proton or positive ion and no neutrons. Similarly, there are elements like deuterium which has one neutron and a single proton as compared to a hydrogen atom that has one proton, no neutrons and one electron or negative ion. Protium is the most common isotope we can find of Hydrogen. The H-atom is actually the chemical element of hydrogen. The atom has an electron and a proton which is attached to the nucleus due to Coulomb force. The atomic number of Protium is 1 and the atomic mass number of Protium is also 1. A single proton is present in the nucleus and an electron in the 1s orbit. 99.8% of hydrogen that occurs naturally has this isotope. The hydrogen isotopes are placed in the same position as that of the periodic table because all of them have one proton. They show the same chemical properties, the reason being the same electronic configuration. They have some different physical properties as it depends on mass.

Protium Symbol

The lighter isotope of hydrogen is referred to as ”protium” but with no chemical symbol other than 1H, which has been assigned to it. Subsequently to the deuterium discovery, the third isotope of hydrogen of the relative mass of order three was found to exist. Atoms of similar elements can contain different numbers of neutrons; the different possible versions of every element are referred to as isotopes. The numbers of both protons and electrons are similar for every isotope because they define the element, including its chemical behaviour.

The element symbol of an isotope is given as:

A = EZ


Z = number of protons = number of electrons = atomic number

A = number of protons + number of neutrons = mass number

The shorthand writing for the isotopes protium of element symbol is H1

Protium Structure

Protium is the most common isotope of hydrogen, which is also called a hydrogen atom. A hydrogen atom is defined as an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom consists of a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron, which are bound to the nucleus by the coulomb force. The most abundant isotope is given as protium, hydrogen-1, or light hydrogen contains zero neutrons, and other isotopes of hydrogen such as deuterium contain either one or more neutrons.

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Protium on the Periodic Table

Hydrogen has been placed along with the elements of group 1 in the long form of the periodic table also, but it is separated slightly to indicate its distinctive character and thereby to confirm the views of the Mendeleev.

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Protium can be represented using the symbol H. The atomic number of protium is given as one and the protium mass number is given as 1. It also contains one electron in its 1s orbital and one proton in its nucleus. And, the naturally occurring hydrogen holds 99.985% of this isotope.

Hydrogen isotopes occupy the same and exact position in the periodic table because all of them hold one proton each. Their chemical behaviour is the same because of the similar electronic configuration. However, they vary in the physical properties, which are mass-dependent.

Atomic and Physical Properties of Protium

A few atomic and physical properties of the three isotopes can be given as follows: 



Melting point/K


Boiling point/K


Relative atomic mass/g mol-1


Enthalpy of vaporization /kJ mol-1


Enthalpy of fusion /kJ mol-1


Density /g L-1


Critical pressure/bar


Critical temperature/K


Nuclear spin quantum number


Enthalpy of dissociation/kJ mol-1


Protons Vs Protium

As the name at times, protium is used for hydrogen molecules or atoms in which the nuclei are protons - hydrogen-1, to provide it with another name. This is to differentiate it from deuterium, which contains atoms with a nucleus consisting of hydrogen-2, a proton, and neutron. (Or tritium, the hydrogen-3 with two neutrons, but tritium is radioactive too) Protons are defined as the hydrogen nuclei without the attached electron.


Finding Protons

Protons and neutrons (which are collectively known as nucleons) are found in the nuclei. On Earth, they are found in the complex nuclei form, for example, Carbon with six protons and six neutrons. These nuclei were created in the previous generations of stars , where the Sun is likely in the third generation of stars (confusingly known as a Population 1 star). The debris cloud’s heavier elements that formed the Sun are what became planets.

Only about 5 percent of the galaxy’s mass is in stars, with the rest in gas clouds and others in non-collapsed structures. Primarily, this gas is molecular hydrogen or atomic, meaning that most of the nucleons present in the Universe are isolated protons. All in, about 70 percent of the nucleons in the Universe are present in hydrogen.

Referring Protium

Protium can refer to:

  • Hydrogen-1 or Protium (isotope), which is the most common isotope of hydrogen element, having one proton, one electron, and zero neutrons

  • Protium (plant), which is a genus of chiefly tropical American trees present in the family Burseraceae, having the fragrant wood

  • Cadence Protium, which is a hardware-accelerated prototyping platform for early software development by the Cadence Design Systems

Uses of Protium

  • Protium contains pantoprazole, which is given as an active ingredient.

  • Protium is also a selective “proton pump inhibitor,” which is a medication that reduces the produced amount of stomach acid.

  • It can be used to treat intestine and stomach acid-related illnesses 

FAQs on Protium

1. What is the use of protium?

When we have gastritis or any other problems related to the stomach then we are suggested to have pantoprazole as medicines. In this medicine, Protium is present as an active ingredient. It can be defined as a selective proton pump inhibitor which is a medication process that reduces the amount of the hydrochloric acid that is secreted by the stomach. Thus, Protium is used for any intestinal or stomach acid-related illnesses.

2. Where is protium found in nature?

Protium is a hydrogen isotope that has one proton and one electron but no neutrons. The protium can be said to be the most abundant form of hydrogen found. It is abundantly found in the crust of the Earth which is about 99.9% in the composition. Protium does not have positive ions or protons. The deuteron, however, contains a proton and a neutron. 

3. Is protium abundant and where is it found?

Protium is the most abundant isotope of the hydrogen element and is found abundantly in the earth’s crust. It is present in about 99.9% of the crust. As the nucleus has only one proton, it is named protium. The proton does not decay and it is a stable isotope. It is placed in the same area where Hydrogen is also placed.