Tuesday, 3 July 2018

NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIOACTIVITY NOTE BY PLANCESS

Radioactivity is the conversion of one nuclear state to another. It is accompanied by the emission of particles or electromagnetic radiation. The nuclear state change can often involve a change in the atomic number of the atoms involved.

The most well known forms of radiation emiited are alpha particles (helium nuclei - two protons bound with two neutrons), beta particles (energetic electrons) and gamma radiation (very high energy electromagnetic radiation). Another form of radioactivity is fission in which a nucleus splits into two smaller components.

Most sources of natural, predictable radiation come from the decay of atomic nuclei, resulting in either alpha - α  or beta - β particles. In general, α  decay is more common among the heavier elements, as it reduces the proton:neutron ratio, while β decay is much more prominent among lighter elements, as it converts a neutron into a proton.

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