Radioactive carbon dating animation
When they do, they release energy and get transformed into different nuclides.
It's as if the nucleus is feeling too full of energy and it has to get rid of some, much like a hyperactive child who is so full of energy that he cannot stay seated in his chair.
So, to understand this process, we need to know that an alpha particle is two protons and two neutrons bound together, which is the same as a helium nucleus.
In other words, an alpha particle is a helium nucleus.
Specially defined isotopes, called nuclides, can be unstable and therefore undergo radioactive decay.
So with this decay, we do not see the number of protons or neutrons within a nucleus changing. This decay is called gamma decay, and it is denoted by the third letter of the Greek alphabet, gamma, which looks like a lowercase 'y.' We define gamma decay as a type of radioactive decay where a gamma ray is emitted.
A gamma ray is a high-energy photon, and you have experienced gamma rays if you ever had an x-ray taken.
Instead, you recognize them as those little things that look like orbiting planets moving around the outside of a nucleus.
But essentially, what is happening with beta decay is that we are taking a neutron, removing a negative charge and turning it into a proton.
Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Radiometric dating is a method used to date rocks based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Now, they do not give off enough radiation that you have to be afraid to pick them up, but they do contain naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium, for example.