# How to determine the energy of photons released in decay

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• nwfusor
In summary, the equation for determining the energy of photons released when radio-isotopes decay is not as straightforward as there is no single equation that can provide precise results. Instead, experiments and published material are the most reliable sources for obtaining this information. Additionally, tritium and plutonium 237 have low-energetic beta decay and mainly decay via electron capture, making it difficult to accurately calculate the energy of photons released. Therefore, a gamma spectrometer would not be an effective method for detecting the presence of H3 or Pu237. As for a good method to do so, it is best to seek guidance from sources with the necessary knowledge and expertise in handling potentially radioactive materials.
nwfusor
What equation would I need to use to determine the energy of photons released when radio-isotopes decay? I would like to figure out the energies of photons released when tritium and plutonium 237 decay.

There is no "equation". While it is possible to get some estimates via nuclear models, the most precise results are usually from experiments, and you can check the published material.

Note that tritium has a very low-energetic beta decay, the emission of photons is rare and those cannot have a high energy.
Pu-237 mainly decays via electron capture, you can calculate the maximal photon energy via energy conservation, but the emission of an electron is also a common result, which can but does not have to be accompanied by the emission of photons.

Based off of your answer, would a gamma spectrometer be an effective manner to show that H3 or Pu237 are present?

No.

With that being the case, what would be a good method to do so?

You clearly do not have the required knowledge to work with potentially radioactive material safely anyway.

berkeman

## 1. How is the energy of photons released in decay calculated?

The energy of photons released in decay can be calculated using the formula E = hf, where E is the energy of the photon, h is Planck's constant, and f is the frequency of the photon. In some cases, the energy can also be determined using the formula E = hc/λ, where c is the speed of light and λ is the wavelength of the photon.

## 2. Can the energy of photons released in decay be measured directly?

No, the energy of photons released in decay cannot be measured directly. Instead, it is calculated using the formulas mentioned in the previous answer. However, the energy of photons can be indirectly measured using various techniques such as spectroscopy or scintillation detectors.

## 3. What factors affect the energy of photons released in decay?

The energy of photons released in decay is affected by the type of decay, the type of nucleus undergoing decay, and the conservation of energy and momentum. The energy of the daughter nucleus and any particles emitted during the decay also play a role in determining the energy of the photons.

## 4. Is the energy of photons released in decay always the same?

No, the energy of photons released in decay can vary depending on the specific decay process. Some decays, such as alpha decay, always release photons with a specific energy, while others, such as beta decay, can release photons with a range of energies. The energy of photons can also change if the decay occurs in a different medium or environment.

## 5. How is the energy of photons released in decay used in scientific research?

The energy of photons released in decay is used in a variety of scientific research fields, including nuclear physics, astrophysics, and medical imaging. By studying the energy and behavior of photons released in decay, scientists can gain a better understanding of the fundamental properties of matter and the structure of the universe. In medical imaging, the energy of photons can be used to create detailed images of the inside of the body, aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

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