Radioactive Decay

  • Gopal B. Saha


Approximately 3000 nuclides have been discovered thus far, and most are unstable. Unstable nuclei decay by spontaneous fission, α-particle, β-particle, or γ-ray emission, or electron capture in order to achieve stability. The stability of a nuclide is governed by the structural arrangement and binding energy of the nucleons in the nucleus. One criterion of stability is the neutron-to-proton ratio (N/Z) of the stable nuclides; the radionuclides decay to achieve the N/Z of the nearest possible stable nuclide. Radioactive decay by particle emission or electron capture changes the atomic number of the radionuclide, whereas decay by γ-ray emission does not.


Electron Capture Shell Electron Internal Conversion Conversion Coefficient Decay Energy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Suggested Reading

  1. Friedlander G, Kennedy JW, Miller JM. Nuclear and Radiochemistry. 3rd ed. New York: Wiley; 1981.Google Scholar
  2. Sorensen JA, Phelps ME. Physics in Nuclear Medicine. 2nd ed. New York: Grune & Stratton; 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gopal B. Saha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineThe Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations