Last modified on 28 March 2013, at 15:51

Physics Course/Radiation/Radioactive Decay Radiation


Radioactivity is the conversion of one nuclear state to another only happen with elements that has unstable Nuclei . It involves Decay of Radioactive Element accompany by an emission of streams of Charged Particles namely Alpha, Beta , Gamma called Electromagnetic radiation in the form of Invisible Light and a release of enormous Heat Energy into the surrounding calculated by Einstien's Formula

E = M C2


M = (m_1 - m_2) correspond to difference in mass during the radioactivity .

Radioactive Decay

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

Alpha Decay

U^{238} \longrightarrow Th^{234} + He^{4}(\alpha)

This is the first decay in the famous Uranium decay. U-238 is essentially non-radioactive (especially compared to hyper-active U-235), and has a half-life of over four billion years.

Beta Decay

C^{14} \longrightarrow N^{14} + e(\beta)

This is the decay that allows for carbon dating, and has a half-life of over 5000 years.

Gamma Decay

Gamma radiation is much more difficult to come by, as emitting a gamma ray does not allow an atomic nuclei to decay. The most famous source of high-energy gamma rays is what happens when an electron and a positron annihilate:

 e^{+} + e^{-} \longrightarrow \gamma + \gamma


  1. Radioactivity