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Cobalt-60 emits γ radiation and is used in many applications including cancer treatment: Positron emission is observed for nuclides in which the n:p ratio is low. Positron decay is the conversion of a proton into a neutron with the emission of a positron.The n:p ratio increases, and the daughter nuclide lies closer to the band of stability than did the parent nuclide.Ernest Rutherford’s experiments involving the interaction of radiation with a magnetic or electric field (Figure 2) helped him determine that one type of radiation consisted of positively charged and relatively massive α particles; a second type was made up of negatively charged and much less massive β particles; and a third was uncharged electromagnetic waves, γ rays.We now know that α particles are high-energy helium nuclei, β particles are high-energy electrons, and γ radiation compose high-energy electromagnetic radiation.Beta (β) decay is the emission of an electron from a nucleus.

The choice is primarily due to kinetic factors, with the one requiring the smaller activation energy being the one more likely to occur.

We classify different types of radioactive decay by the radiation produced. Alpha particles, which are attracted to the negative plate and deflected by a relatively small amount, must be positively charged and relatively massive.

Beta particles, which are attracted to the positive plate and deflected a relatively large amount, must be negatively charged and relatively light.

Electron capture occurs when one of the inner electrons in an atom is captured by the atom’s nucleus.

For example, potassium-40 undergoes electron capture: Electron capture occurs when an inner shell electron combines with a proton and is converted into a neutron.

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