Proton and Neutron Radioactivity

Proton and Neutron Radioactivity
In this example, 113Cs decays into 112Xe by emitting a proton. (marked by the arrow). The half-life of the ground state of 113Cs is 0.000018 seconds. The "daughter nucleus", 112Xe (half-life is 2.27 seconds) is also radioactive and beta decays to 112I (half-life is 3.42 seconds) which also beta decays to 112Te (half-life is 2.0 minutes) which also beta decays to 112Sb (half-life is 51.4 seconds) which also beta decays to 112Sn which is stable. Usually, the state in the proton-emitting daughter is the ground state and no gamma-rays are emitted.

The process is the same for neutron radioactivity. In all cases, this only occurs at the farthest edge of nuclear stability. This is where the strong force cannot hold the nucleus together any more.

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This file last modified Tuesday March 13, 2007