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Extra resources for Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory. Module 1. Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Example text

Electron capture and positron emission result in the production of Figure 9 Orbital Electron Capture the same daughter product, and they exist as competing processes. For positron emission to occur, however, the mass of the daughter product must be less than the mass of the parent by an amount equal to at least twice the mass of an electron. This mass difference between the parent and daughter is necessary to account for two items present in the parent but not in the daughter. One item is the positron ejected from the nucleus of the parent.

Therefore, the following is true. A Ao e A Ao = = = = t (1-5) where: t activity present at time t activity initially present decay constant (time-1) time Radioactive Half-Life One of the most useful terms for estimating how quickly a nuclide will decay is the radioactive half-life. The radioactive half-life is defined as the amount of time required for the activity to decrease to one-half of its original value. A relationship between the half-life and decay constant can be developed from Equation (1-5).

The gamma ray is then said to have undergone internal conversion. The conversion electron is ejected from the atom with kinetic energy equal to the gamma energy minus the binding energy of the orbital electron. An orbital electron then drops to a lower energy state to fill the vacancy, and this is accompanied by the emission of characteristic x-rays. Isomers and Isomeric Transition Isomeric transition commonly occurs immediately after particle emission; however, the nucleus may remain in an excited state for a measurable period of time before dropping to the ground state at its own characteristic rate.

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