# Is charge conserved in positron emission?

by Bipolarity
Tags: charge, conserved, emission, positron
 P: 774 Consider the reaction: $^{39}_{20}Ca \rightarrow ^{39}_{19}K + \beta^{+}$ I understand that a proton in the Calcium nucleus is being split into a neutron, which stays in the nucleus, and a positron, which gets ejected. But if you look at the equation above, charge is not conserved. The only thing I can think of doing to balance is to consider the potassium product as a negative ion, but that makes no sense to me? Or perhaps I am missing something. Or perhaps it has something to do with the number of electrons in play. Any help is appreciated. Thanks! BiP
 Admin P: 22,375 Charge is conserved always. Equation is just not complete, but when writing nuclear reaction we don't pay much attention to such things, we concentrate on what is important from the point of view of the nucleus (this is not a chemical reaction). Once the positron is emitted you end with an excess electron in the atom shells. Later this electron will look for a better place for itself, which usually means traveling to some other atom/ion whatever.
 P: 774 I see! Thanks Borek! So techniclly, the potassium is actually an anion but we don't really care about that charge in nuclear reactions since the electron will quickly move somewhere else right? BiP