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Why aren't the daughter isotopes of alpha decay charged?

  1. May 26, 2012 #1
    For example, when a radioactive isotope of Uranium undergoes alpha decay, a radioactive isotope of Thorium is formed. Why isn't this daughter isotope charged?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2012 #2
    In principle it is charged, but a couple of extra electrons come and go very easily, especially in a metal.

    As soon as the 2+ alpha particle slows down it will pick up 2 electrons and become a normal neutral Helium atom.

    So the overall charge balance is neutral. The U come Th looses 2 electrons, and the alpha picks up two.
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