Radioactive dating wiki

If there are multiple particles produced during a single decay, as in beta decay, their relative angular distribution, or spin directions may not be isotropic.

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The first decay processes to be discovered were alpha decay, beta decay, and gamma decay.

The nucleus may capture an orbiting electron, causing a proton to convert into a neutron in a process called electron capture.

All of these processes result in a well-defined nuclear transmutation.

However, for a collection of atoms, the collection's expected decay rate is characterized in terms of their measured decay constants or half-lives. The half-lives of radioactive atoms have no known upper limit, spanning a time range of over 55 orders of magnitude, from nearly instantaneous to far longer than the age of the universe.

Certain highly excited short-lived nuclear states can decay through neutron emission, or more rarely, proton emission. random) process at the level of a singular quantum of single atoms, in that, according to quantum theory, it is impossible to predict when a particular atom will decay, regardless of how long the atom has existed.

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