Radioactive isotope

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

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?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
mathman
Science Advisor
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A radioactive isotope (by definition) is one that is unstable. This almost always involves alpha or beta (+ or -) particle output. There is a rare reaction, electron capture, where no particle is emitted.
 

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