[Tex/LaTex] How to typeset the symbols for charged particles

best practicestypography

Maybe this question will seem trivial, but I was wondering how you people typeset symbols for charged particles? I was thinking here in particular about the electron, the proton and the neutron. This is how I do them:


This looks pretty good imho, but maybe you have another favourite (or more scientific) way of doing it?

Best Answer

NIST's guide for the use of SI recommends (on page 35) that "symbols representing purely descriptive terms (for example, the chemical elements) are roman". This would most likely apply to subatomic particles as well. To do this, I would use \mathrm:

$\mathrm{e^-}$, $\mathrm{p^+}$, $\mathrm{n^0}$. 

Of course, that looks like it might get tedious, so I'd probably define macros for them:


which would allow you to quickly and universally change them if you decided that some other typesetting convention was better.

Personally, I'd prefer sans-serif, but then I'm no chemist or particle physicist.