Beta decay - stable nuclei having filled shells, apply to...

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Beta decay A beta particle is often an electron, but can also be a positron, a positively-charged particle that is the anti-matter equivalent of the electron. If an electron is involved, the number of neutrons in the nucleus decreases by one and the number of protons increases by one. An example of such a process is: In terms of safety, beta particles are much more penetrating than alpha particles, but much less than gamma particles. Gamma decay The third class of radioactive decay is gamma decay, in which the nucleus changes from a higher-level energy state to a lower level. Similar to the energy levels for electrons in the atom, the nucleus has energy levels. The concepts of shells, and more
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Unformatted text preview: stable nuclei having filled shells, apply to the nucleus as well. When an electron changes levels, the energy involved is usually a few eV, so a visible or ultraviolet photon is emitted. In the nucleus, energy differences between levels are much larger, typically a few hundred keV, so the photon emitted is a gamma ray. Gamma rays are very penetrating; they can be most efficiently absorbed by a relatively thick layer of high-density material such as lead. A list of known nuclei and their properties can be found in the chart of the nuclides at the Brookhaven National Laboratory....
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