Homework Help: Electron Decay x-rays

1. Apr 14, 2012

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

This question actually comes from my chemistry class, but I believe it is more suited for this forum.

When the process of Electron Capture occurs, proton + e --> n, an x-ray is emitted. Why is that x-ray emitted and not a photon of lower energy.

2. Relevant equations

No idea

3. The attempt at a solution

This is an extra credit question, and I don't even know where to start. Our book doesn't even have a nuclear chemistry chapter. From some online sleuthing I can see that energy is released as electrons collapse, from the inner-most orbital out, but I do not understand why it would be an x-ray instead of a lower energy photon.

A point in the right direction would be appreciated. I might be able to understand some calculus if it's mathy, but I am not done with that class quite yet.

Thanks,
Mac

2. Apr 14, 2012

darkxponent

in the process of electron capture the enregy released is very high. So a high energy photon is emitted. That is what x-ray is(a high energy photon).

3. Apr 14, 2012

Thank you. That's about the answer I submitted, but I was hoping I could show some of the calculations behind it.

For now though, I'll digress. I probably wouldn't understand most of it anyway at this juncture.

4. Apr 14, 2012

darkxponent

Ohk there are things i would like to say

1) the equation you have written is incorrect
p+e=n+nutrino is the right reaction.

2)X-ray is a not a part of above reaction. X-rays are not emitted generally in a nuclear reaction. Gamma rays emmited in nuclear reactions.

3)Yes X- rays are produced but after the K-capture. A vacancy is created in inner shell due to which an electron jumps from higher shell to the inner shell. The electron during jumping emits a photon to loose energy.

4) A simple question for you. As you have said you are good in maths. Can you calculate the energy of the photon if electron jumps from nth shell .

5. Apr 14, 2012

darkxponent

There is nothing like 'nuclear chemistry'. Every thing at nulear level is physics.

6. Apr 14, 2012

I think I'll pass for now, thanks. Maybe when I actually am good at maths. (if ever)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_chemistry

https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Nuclear-Chemistry-Walter-Loveland/dp/0471115320

7. Apr 14, 2012

darkxponent

This wasnt the kind of reaction i was expecting. I am not challenging you. I am just trying a healthy discussion. And please excuse my poor english. I might sound rude even when i am potile.