18.4.3 Gamma Decay

Gamma radiation is actually gamma photons.

Sometimes, an alpha or beta decay leaves the daughter nucleus in an excited state.

It turns out that just like atoms, nuclei also have quantized energy levels. Because the nuclear forces in the nucleus are so strong, the gaps between the nucleus’ energy levels are measured in MeV. So when an excited nucleus de-excites, the transition from the excited energy level to the ground level produces a gamma photon.

\displaystyle {}_{Z}^{A}X^{*}\to {}_{Z}^{A}X+\gamma

So during a gamma decay, there is no change in the nuclear composition. It simply changes from an excited nucleus (denoted by *) to a ground state nucleus, releasing the energy in a gamma photon (denoted by\displaystyle \gamma ).

Concept Test

3631

Comics 

Gamma Cough

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s