A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is an atom that has excess nuclear energy, making it unstable. This excess energy can either create and emit, from the nucleus, new radiation (gamma radiation) or a new particle (alpha particle or beta particle), or transfer this excess energy to one of its electrons, causing it to be ejected (conversion electron). During this process, the radionuclide is said to undergo radioactive decay. These emissions constitute ionizing radiation. The unstable nucleus is more stable following the emission, but will sometimes undergo further decay. Radioactive decay is a random process at the level of single atoms: it is impossible to predict when one particular atom will decay. However, for a collection of atoms of a single element the decay rate, and thus the half-life (t1/2) for that collection can be calculated from their measured decay constants. The duration of the half-lives of radioactive...
Search Within This Topic:
Refine ResultsThis is the search filters section. Skip to search results section.
- All Content
- Content I can access