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Does amount of electrons orbiting an atom effect rate of radioactive decay?

  1. Jun 17, 2012 #1
    Do ions have a measurably different rate then their neutral counterpart or does the rate of radioactive decay and electrons have no correlation? Also, when a source states an elements half life is that the same for all of its isotopes?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In general no, although for isotopes decaying only by electron capture - yes. In theory nucleus decaying by electron capture won't decay ever if the element is completely ionized (that is it is a naked nucleus, without a single electron).

    No, each isotope has its own half life.
  4. Jun 18, 2012 #3
    What Borek said.

    In addition, in Moessbauer nuclei the transition energy depends slightly on the electronic configuration. I suppose that has an equally small effect on the life time.

    195Gold decays by electron capture. You can see that the different isotopes have very different life times and different decay modes. Some isotopes have more than one way of decaying.

  5. Jun 18, 2012 #4
    An isotope is just a designation we use to distinguish atoms of the same element but with different number of neutrons. An isotope isn't always radioactive (we call those radioisotopes or radionuclides). So Hydrogen-1 is an isotope of hydrogen, but it isn't radioactive. So, as Borek stated, differnt isotopes have different half-lives (and some are stable).
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