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P2.6 Radioactivity


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Alpha Radiation
Particles, each composed of two protons and two neutrons, emitted by unstable nuclei.
Beta Radiation
Particles which are high-energy electrons created in and emitted from unstable nuclei.
Gamma Radiation
Electromagnetic radiation emitted from unstable nuclei in radioactive substances.
Isotopes
Atoms that have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons, i.e. they have the same atomic number but different mass numbers.
Half-life of a radioactive isotope
Average time taken for the number of nuclei of the isotope (or mass of the isotope) in a sample to halve.
Activity
Number of atoms of a radioactive substance which decay per second
Random
Cannot be predicted and has no recognisable cause.
Atomic number
The number of protons (which equals the number of electrons) in an atom. It is sometimes called the proton number.
Mass number
The total number of protons and neutrons in an atom.
Ionisation
Any process in which atoms become charged.