Radioactive decay is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by emitting radiation. This process transforms the original atom into a different element, or a different isotope of the same element.

There are three main types of radioactive decay:

**Alpha Decay:**In alpha decay, an unstable nucleus emits an alpha particle, which consists of two protons and two neutrons. This reduces the atomic number of the nucleus by 2 and the mass number by 4.**Beta Decay:**In beta decay, a neutron in the nucleus is transformed into a proton, and the nucleus emits a beta particle (an electron) and an antineutrino. This increases the atomic number by 1 while keeping the mass number the same.**Gamma Decay:**Gamma decay involves the release of high-energy gamma photons from an excited nucleus. Unlike alpha and beta decay, gamma decay does not change the atomic or mass number of the nucleus, but it does lower the energy state of the nucleus.

The half-life of a radioactive substance is the time it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei in a sample to undergo radioactive decay. This concept is used to quantify the rate of decay of a radioactive substance.

The decay of a radioactive substance can be described using the exponential decay equation:

**N(t) = N0 * e ^{-λt}**

Where:

**N(t)**= the number of radioactive nuclei at time*t***N0**= the initial number of radioactive nuclei**λ**= decay constant (related to the half-life)**t**= time

Here are some key points to focus on when studying radioactive decay:

- Understand the three main types of radioactive decay: alpha, beta, and gamma decay.
- Learn how to write nuclear equations to represent radioactive decay processes.
- Be able to calculate the remaining amount of a radioactive substance after a certain amount of time has passed using the decay equation.
- Practice using the concept of half-life to solve problems involving the decay of radioactive substances.
- Understand the practical applications of radioactive decay, such as in carbon dating and medical imaging.

Remember to review the mathematical equations and practice solving numerical problems related to radioactive decay to solidify your understanding of the topic.

Worksheet/Answer key

Atomic and Nuclear Physics Worksheet/Answer key

Atomic and Nuclear Physics Worksheet/Answer key

Atomic and Nuclear Physics Worksheet/Answer keyAtomic and Nuclear Physics

PHYSICAL SCIENCE

Matter and Its Interactions

Develop models to illustrate the concept of half-life for radioactive decay.

Research and communicate information about types of naturally occurring radiation and their properties.