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ALPHA DECAY

Physics

ALPHA DECAY

1. THE ATOM TRANSFORMS BY LOOSING A HELIUM NUCLEUS (decay by the emission of an alpha particle).

2. Alpha decay typically occurs with heavy nuclides (A > 150) and is often followed by gamma and characteristic x-ray emission.

3. These photon emissions are often accompanied by the competing processes of internal conversion and Auger electron emission.

4. Z (atomic number) decreases by 2 and A (mass number) decreases by 4. The daughter is therefore a different element.

5. Due to their relatively high mass, electrical charge and low speed, α particles readily interact with other atoms and are effectively stopped by a few centimetres of air.

6. High LET radiation which causes radiation damage through ionization, and pose serious health hazards, hence not used in imaging.



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REFERENCES

1. Bushberg, J. T. (2012). The essential physics of medical imaging. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Find it at Amazon
2. Heggie, J. C., Liddell, N. A., & Maher, K. P. (1997). Applied imaging technology. Melbourne: St. Vincents Hospital.

Ⓒ A. Manickam 2018

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