Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why do some unexpected isotopes occur naturally?

  1. Jan 25, 2013 #1
    Why do some isotopes occur naturally even though a seemingly valid decay with non-negligible energy release ~Mev, could energetically happen? E.g. Cadmium-106 could decay to Palladium-106 but it is still NATURALLY occuring?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

  4. Jan 26, 2013 #3
    Thanks - is this because there is a difference in the orbital angular momentum of the parent and daughter nuclei? I know it HAS a really long half-life, but I don't know how to prove that to myself - what are it's features that result in this?
  5. Jan 26, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Cd-106 is, for all intents and purposes, stable. The quoted half-life of >1020y is only a lower limit. Decay to the next element Ag-106 is not energetically allowed, and a hypothetical decay to Pd-106 would require a double beta decay.
  6. Jan 27, 2013 #5
    NO. The LOWER BOUND of the half-life is [itex]10^{20}[/itex] years. There is NO half-life, because there is no upper bound of half-life.
  7. Jan 27, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    In theory, all those isotopes (including all with at least 42 protons) should be unstable, but their lifetimes are so long that those decays were not observed yet.

    As an example, 209Bi was in this list, too, until its radioactivity was discovered (with a half-life of ~2*1019 years).
  8. Jan 27, 2013 #7
    Which isotope is alleged to have been observed to undergo double electron capture?
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook