# Radon 222 What is really going on?

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1. Dec 14, 2015

Are the Alpha particles in the Rn 222 decay process actually new particles or something like Helium atoms with the electrons knocked off.

2. Dec 14, 2015

### e.bar.goum

It's not just 222Rn that decays via alpha emission! Every isotope marked in yellow in this nuclear chart (which is like an expanded periodic table, number of protons on the y axis, neutrons on the x) http://www.nndc.bnl.gov/chart/reColor.jsp?newColor=dm decays via alpha emission.

Now, we call the particles emitted by a nucleus (222Rn-> 218Po + $\alpha$) alpha particles, but you are correct, they have the same thing as a helium nucleus. It's the same thing with "beta" decay - beta particles are electrons. Similarly "Beta plus" decay is positron emission. It's just a historical thing.

3. Dec 14, 2015

Great thanks, I get that other elements emit Alpha decay but are they creating new particles or changing existing particles. Where does the Alpha particle come from.

4. Dec 14, 2015

### e.bar.goum

The decay of the 222Rn nucleus. The decay goes like: 22286Rn-> 21884Po + α . The radon will turn into 218Po, which is two neutrons + two protons less than 222Rn

5. Dec 14, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

The protons and neutrons of the alpha particle come from the radon nucleus. No new particles, just the same in a different arrangement.

Beta decay is different, there new particles are created.