Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I Am I understanding the Geiger-Nuttall law correctly

  1. Aug 11, 2018 #1
    Geiger–Nuttall rule relates the decay constant of a radioactive isotope with the energy of the alpha particles emitted. Roughly speaking, it states that short-lived isotopes emit more energetic alpha particles than long-lived ones. - wiki

    I am trying to understand why there is an inverse relationship between alpha decay half-life and the decay energy.

    The heavier an unstable nuclei is, the higher it's potential barrier and quantum tunnelling distance is. This reduces the probability an alpha particle can tunnel through the potential barrier, and thus increases the half life of the unstable nuclei.

    I'm trying to understand where decay energy fits in here though...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2018 #2

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    The potential barrier close to the nucleus looks similar for many nuclides. A larger decay energy means "the alpha particle" has more energy inside and the barrier is lower for it.
     
  4. Aug 12, 2018 at 7:31 AM #3

    vanhees71

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2017 Award

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted