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This article describes the natural science term. For "activation" as it refers to computer software, see product activation.

Activation in science generally refers to the process whereby something is prepared or excited for a subsequent reaction.



In chemistry, activation of molecules is required for a chemical reaction to occur. The phrase energy of activation[1] refers to the energy the reactants must acquire before they can successfully react with each other to produce the products, that is, to reach the transition state. The energy needed for activation can be quite small and the molecules may have enough energy just from thermal fluctuations the molecules naturally have (i.e. lots of reactions don't have to be heated to proceed). The branch of chemistry that deals with this topic is called chemical kinetics.


Similarly, neutron activation is a standard analytical technique used to analyze for elements, usually, metals. The sample is placed in a high neutron flux and in the nuclear reaction involved, a neutron is captured by a nucleus. If the resulting new isotope is unstable, it will undergo radioactive decay. This decay can be monitored and the element emitting identified by the identity and energy of the emitted particles. Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA) is a rapid, nondestructive, instrumental, nuclear technique which is used for trace and major component analysis of various elements.


Activation refers to the opening of ion channels, i.e. the conformational change that allows ions to pass.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Activation". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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