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Alpha and proton decay

  1. Apr 22, 2014 #1
    All nuclei with A > 210 are alpha emitters, yet very few emit protons spontaneously.
    Yet both decays lower the Coulomb energy of the nucleus. Why is
    proton decay not more common?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    Look at the binding energy curve.
  4. Apr 22, 2014 #3


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    Some of these nuclei undergo beta decay, not alpha.
  5. Apr 25, 2014 #4
    The binding energy of alpha particles means more energy available to make the decay happen -- it happens by quantum-mechanical tunneling.

    I could dig up the alpha decay rate if anyone is interested - it also works for protons.
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