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slow-neutron process (s-process) In a second-generation star, successive neutron capture on a slow time-scale, termed the ‘s-process’, is considered to account for the abundance distribution of the heaviest nuclides. The neutrons are furnished by the basic sequence of energy-producing reactions, i.e. hydrogen ‘burning’, helium ‘burning’, etc., thus continuing the element-building process beyond Fe. See also NUCLEOSYNTHESIS.