plasmapy.particles.symbols.particle_symbol(particle: plasmapy.particles.particle_class.Particle, mass_numb: numbers.Integral = None, Z: numbers.Integral = None) str

Return the symbol of a particle.

  • particle (int, str, or Particle) – A str representing a particle, element, isotope, or ion or an int representing an atomic number

  • mass_numb (int or str, optional) – The mass number of an isotope.

  • Z (int or str, optional) – The charge number of an ion.


symbol – The particle symbol, containing charge and mass number information when available. The result will generally be returned as something like 'e-', 'Fe', 'He-4 2+', 'D', 'n', 'mu-', or 'p+'.

Return type


  • InvalidParticleError – If arguments do not correspond to a valid particle or contradictory information is provided.

  • TypeError – If ion is not a str, int, or Particle; or if either of mass_numb or Z is not an int or a str representing an integer.


`~plasmapy.particles.exceptions.ParticleWarning` – If redundant mass number or charge information is provided.


>>> particle_symbol('electron')
>>> particle_symbol('proton')
>>> particle_symbol('alpha')
'He-4 2+'
>>> particle_symbol('H-1', Z=-1)
'H-1 1-'