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Where do the electrons go in a decay process?

  1. Apr 9, 2007 #1
    In an alpha decay the alpha particle doesn't have any electrons orbiting around it, right? But what about the remaining daughter nucleus? And where do the electrons go if they go?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2007 #2

    Meir Achuz

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    The daughter atom is initially ionized (-2).
  4. Apr 11, 2007 #3
    Aha. Thanks!
  5. Apr 12, 2007 #4


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    "Where do the electrons go in a decay process?"

    To that which many have sought but none have found - the legendary Electron Graveyard.
  6. Apr 13, 2007 #5


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    Littered with fossilized strings, of course. :biggrin:

    Not initially. But I understand that one of the original pieces of evidence that alpha particles are really helium nuclei was that if you seal an alpha source into an airtight container, when you open the container later, you find some helium gas in it. So the alphas eventually pick up electrons. These are probably not directly from the ionized atoms that they left behind, but other electrons eventually redistribute themselves to make all the atoms neutral again.
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