Radioactive dating equation

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Highly excited neutron-rich nuclei, formed as the product of other types of decay, occasionally lose energy by way of neutron emission, resulting in a change from one isotope to another of the same element.

The nucleus may capture an orbiting electron, causing a proton to convert into a neutron in a process called electron capture.

Beta decay occurs in two ways: (i) beta-minus decay, when the nucleus emits an electron and an antineutrino in a process that changes a neutron to a proton, or (ii) beta-plus decay, when the nucleus emits a positron and a neutrino in a process that changes a proton to a neutron.Alpha decay is one type of radioactive decay, in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle, and thereby transforms (or "decays") into an atom with a mass number decreased by 4 and atomic number decreased by 2. A radioactive nucleus with zero spin can have no defined orientation, and hence emits the total momentum of its decay products isotropically (all directions and without bias). However, for a collection of atoms, the collection's expected decay rate is characterized in terms of their measured decay constants or half-lives. The half-lives of radioactive atoms have no known upper limit, spanning a time range of over 55 orders of magnitude, from nearly instantaneous to far longer than the age of the universe.The energy of an excited nucleus may be emitted as a gamma ray in a process called gamma decay, or that energy may be lost when the nucleus interacts with an orbital electron causing its ejection from the atom, in a process called internal conversion.Another type of radioactive decay results in products that vary, appearing as two or more "fragments" of the original nucleus with a range of possible masses.

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