Nuclides in carbon 14 dating

Beta (β) decay is the emission of an electron from a nucleus.Iodine-131 is an example of a nuclide that undergoes β decay: Beta decay, which can be thought of as the conversion of a neutron into a proton and a β particle, is observed in nuclides with a large n:p ratio.Gamma rays, which are unaffected by the electric field, must be uncharged. Because the loss of an α particle gives a daughter nuclide with a mass number four units smaller and an atomic number two units smaller than those of the parent nuclide, the daughter nuclide has a larger n:p ratio than the parent nuclide.If the parent nuclide undergoing α decay lies below the band of stability (refer to Chapter 21.1 Nuclear Structure and Stability), the daughter nuclide will lie closer to the band.In most cases, the energy emitted will be in the form of an X-ray.

The spontaneous change of an unstable nuclide into another is radioactive decay.Although the radioactive decay of a nucleus is too small to see with the naked eye, we can indirectly view radioactive decay in an environment called a cloud chamber.Click here to learn about cloud chambers and to view an interesting Cloud Chamber Demonstration from the Jefferson Lab.Figure 3 summarizes these types of decay, along with their equations and changes in atomic and mass numbers.Positron emission tomography (PET) scans use radiation to diagnose and track health conditions and monitor medical treatments by revealing how parts of a patient’s body function (Figure 4).

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