Alpha Radioactivity

Alpha Radioactivity

In this example, 109Xe decays to the ground state or an excited state in 105Te by emitting an alpha particle (4He nucleus) (marked by the arrow). The half-life of 109Xe is 0.013 seconds. The excited state populated decays by a single gamma-ray to the ground state of 109Xe. The "daughter nucleus", 105Te (half-life is 0.0000006 seconds) is also radioactive and alpha decays to 101Sn (half-life is 3 seconds) which beta decays to 101In (half-life is 15.1 seconds) which also beta decays to 101Cd (half-life is 1.36 minutes) which also beta decays to 101Cd (half-life is 1.36 minutes) which also beta decays to 101Ag (half-life is 11.1 minutes) which also beta decays to 101Pd (half-life is 8.47 hours) which also beta decays to 101Rh (half-life is 1.01 years) which decays by electron capture to 101Ru which is stable.

This decay process occurs in heavy nuclei (mass larger than 150) and near mass 100 at the edge of nuclear stability.

For more reading see Wikipedia's alpha decay

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This file last modified Tuesday March 13, 2007