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Quantum tunneling - Decay

  1. Jun 19, 2013 #1
    Hello everybody, I am a first year physics student and I have a question about the probability for 'heavy' nucleus to decay.

    I was thinking the other day, how can we know the probability for that nucleus to decay. Let's suppose that we have an alpha decay. Is the probability of the nucleus decay, just equals the He nucleus probability to tunnel? If not, what else should we consider?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2013 #2


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    Science Advisor

    The tunneling probability is not all there is, but it is a major factor in determining the half-life of an alpha decay. Look up the Geiger-Nuttall Law in Wikipedia, or Google for it.
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