Hi, just learning about alpha and beta particles in class this week. What does it mean that the nucleus is unstable in a radioactive isotope? Is this a condition that must be present for nuclear radiation?
A radioactive isotope is an atom with an unstable nucleus that emits radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles, or through nuclear decay.
Alpha particles are made up of two protons and two neutrons and are positively charged. They have a low penetrating power and can be stopped by a sheet of paper.
Beta particles are high-energy electrons that are emitted from the nucleus of a radioactive atom. They have a higher penetrating power than alpha particles and can be stopped by a sheet of aluminum.
Nuclear radiation is the energy that is released from the nucleus of an atom during radioactive decay. It can take the form of alpha or beta particles, or gamma rays.
Radioactive isotopes have many practical applications, including use in medical imaging, carbon dating, and cancer treatment. They can also be used in industrial processes, such as gauging the thickness of materials.