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Helium-3 (He-3, also written as 3He, see also helion) is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron (common helium having two neutrons). Its hypothetical existence was first proposed in 1934 by the Australian nuclear physicist Mark Oliphant while he was working at the University of Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory. Oliphant had performed experiments in which fast deuterons collided with deuteron targets (incidentally, the first demonstration of nuclear fusion). Helium-3 was thought to be a radioactive isotope until it was also found in samples of natural helium, which is mostly helium-4, taken both from the terrestrial atmosphere and from natural gas wells. Other than protium, helium-3 is the only stable isotope of any element with more protons than neutrons.
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