Gamma Decay

Gamma Decay

The Gamma Decay with suitable examples and sketches are discuss here advanced. Gamma Decay is needed to read as engineer student.

What is radiation emitted by radioactive nuclei? Almost immediately, scientists found that this radiation is heterogeneous in composition. In 1899, the prominent French physicist Henri Becquerel and a number of other scientists showed that under the influence of a magnet part of the radiation deviates, while the other propagates in a straight line

 experiment on radiation deflection
experiment on radiation deflection

Diagram of the experiment on radiation deflection, where K is a lead container, P is a radioactive preparation, F is a photographic plate, and B is a magnetic field.

In addition, it was found that rays deflecting in a magnetic field are divided into two streams in an electric field, i.e. are positively and negatively charged particles. The English physicist Ernest Rutherford called the first type of radiation “alpha-rays”, and the second “beta-rays.” Radiation not deviating in a magnetic field was soon called “gamma rays.” A little later it turned out that gamma rays are similar to ordinary light, but their energy is much greater than the energy of light radiation. In 1900, Rutherford established that beta rays are simply a stream of electrons (e–); in 1906, he also showed that alpha rays are a stream of helium nuclei (42He) without electron shells.

In 1902-1907, the existence of radioactive series was discovered, i.e. sequences of natural radioactive isotopes: each subsequent isotope is formed from the previous one by decay with the emission of an alpha or beta particle. Consider the types of radioactive decay. The affiliation of radioactive decay to one form or another is related to the type of emitted particles. Alpha decay is possible for heavy nuclei with a sufficiently large charge Z> 60 (i.e., after neodymium Nd). In α decay, one element turns into another with a charge less by 2; in this case, the mass number of the nucleus decreases by 4. During the transformation, an α-particle (4He nucleus) flies out of the nucleus, which before decay was part of the nucleus.

Gamma Decay – radioactivity types

In this type of decay, the daughter nucleus preserves the mass number, and its charge number decreases by 1; accordingly, positron (β +) and neutrino (ν) fly out of the nucleus: p (nucleus) → n + β ++ ν, or simply: p → n + β ++ ν Decay example: Br → Se + β ++ ν, or simplified: 80Br → 80Se + β ++ ν Here, as before, the sums of superscripts and subscripts in the right and left parts are equal. Finally, there is the so-called electron capture, in which the nucleus captures an electron from the inner shell of an atom, as a result of which the proton contained in the nucleus, connecting with the electron, turns into a neutron: p + e- → n + ν

Electronic capture is essentially similar to β + decay and usually accompanies it, but it can also go on its own: Br + e– → Se + ν, or simplified: 80Br + e– → 80Se + ν Beta radiation is less dangerous for the body when ingested than alpha radiation; but more dangerous with external, external exposure. However, it is simple to provide protection against external β-radiation – an aluminum plate with a thickness of 5 mm is enough for this. Gamma radiation (γ-ray flux) may accompany radioactive decay, but γ-decay does not exist on its own. Usually, during decay, the daughter nucleus is formed in an excited state (it has excess energy), from which it passes into a less excited or unexcited (ground) state, emitting a γ-ray (or several γ-rays).

Emission of a γ-quantum radioactivity types
Emission of a γ-quantum

fall so fast that they cannot be registered. And the nuclear energy of the whole world is based on the phenomenon of spontaneous fission of the 235U nucleus. The main measuring characteristic of radioactivity is the activity of the source, or the number of decays occurring in the sample per unit time. Activity is measured in becquerels (number of decays per second: 1 Bq = 1 dec. / S), as well as in curie (1 Ci = 3.7 · 1010 dec. / S, generally speaking, 1 curie is an activity of 1 gram 226Ra) For a particular radionuclide, an equally important parameter is the half-life (T1 / 2) – the time during which half of the original number of nuclei decays. For different radionuclides of the same element, it may be different.

If the half-life is very long, then the radionuclide is called long-lived; if small – short-lived. It is important to note that we cannot influence the course of radioactive decay by traditional methods. Suppose we have 1 gram of the 137Cs radioactive isotope, the half-life of this isotope T1 / 2 = 30 years. You can expose this isotope to any, even the most aggressive chemicals, transfer it to various chemical compounds, melt and even evaporate – despite any efforts, after 30 years, half of the original quantity will remain – that is, 0.5 grams. The reason is that the energy of nuclear reactions is orders of magnitude higher than the energy of chemical reactions, therefore it is possible to act on radioactive decay, but only by involving the isotope in the nuclear interaction.

The Gamma Decay with suitable examples and sketches are discuss here advanced. Gamma Decay is needed to read as engineer student.


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