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Atomic Decay

  1. Aug 18, 2013 #1
    Is there any thing that could, or any way to increase the atomic decay rate of already unstable elements, such as the radio active elements. magnetically or otherwise, even if the thought is only plausible or otherwise theory, I wouldn't mind hearing it.

    A thought accord to me, what if there was a way, even if years down the road, that we could create something that would force weapons grade radio active elements to rapidly decay to the point they can no longer be used as such, from a distance.

    Just a thought.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2013 #2


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    For electron capture, the presence of electrons is important.
    Beta decay can be triggered by neutrinos, so an intense neutrino flux can increase decay rates a bit. Certainly a possible science-fiction scenario, but probably with limited practical applications in the real world.
  4. Aug 22, 2013 #3


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    It's certainly an interesting idea.
    I don't know much about nuclear physics, but I do know a bit about quantum optics which is really just radiation at a much lower energy.
    So we can make lasers and stimulate the emission of light because we know how optical materials work (more or less) at the atomic level, and what we must do to them to get them in the right sort of state. If we understood the internal dynamics of the nucleus (a hard problem) and had some degree of control over nuclear processes like we do atomic processes (also hard?), might there be a way to stimulate the emission of gamma rays or other particles?

    It would be good not just against nuclear proliferation, but also getting rid of the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.
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