Approximately 1800 nuclides have been discovered thus far, and the majority of them are unstable. Unstable nuclei decay by spontaneous fission, α-particle, ß-particle or γ-photon 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, and 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 photon emission does not.
KeywordsCount Rate Disintegration Rate Electron Capture Particle Emission Internal Conversion
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