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Beta decay

There are actually three types of beta decay    . The first discovered was “ordinary” beta decay and is called β size 12{β rSup { size 8{ - {}} } } {} decay or electron emission. The symbol β size 12{β rSup { size 8{ - {}} } } {} represents an electron emitted in nuclear beta decay . Cobalt-60 is a nuclide that β size 12{β rSup { size 8{ - {}} } } {} decays in the following manner:

60 Co 60 Ni + β + neutrino. size 12{"" lSup { size 8{"60"} } "Co" rightarrow "" lSup { size 8{"60"} } "Ni"+β rSup { size 8{-{}} } +" neutrino"} {}

The neutrino    is a particle emitted in beta decay that was unanticipated and is of fundamental importance. The neutrino was not even proposed in theory until more than 20 years after beta decay was known to involve electron emissions. Neutrinos are so difficult to detect that the first direct evidence of them was not obtained until 1953. Neutrinos are nearly massless, have no charge, and do not interact with nucleons via the strong nuclear force. Traveling approximately at the speed of light, they have little time to affect any nucleus they encounter. This is, owing to the fact that they have no charge (and they are not EM waves), they do not interact through the EM force. They do interact via the relatively weak and very short range weak nuclear force. Consequently, neutrinos escape almost any detector and penetrate almost any shielding. However, neutrinos do carry energy, angular momentum (they are fermions with half-integral spin), and linear momentum away from a beta decay. When accurate measurements of beta decay were made, it became apparent that energy, angular momentum, and linear momentum were not accounted for by the daughter nucleus and electron alone. Either a previously unsuspected particle was carrying them away, or three conservation laws were being violated. Wolfgang Pauli made a formal proposal for the existence of neutrinos in 1930. The Italian-born American physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954) gave neutrinos their name, meaning little neutral ones, when he developed a sophisticated theory of beta decay (see [link] ). Part of Fermi’s theory was the identification of the weak nuclear force as being distinct from the strong nuclear force and in fact responsible for beta decay.

Photo of physicist Enrico Fermi.
Enrico Fermi was nearly unique among 20th-century physicists—he made significant contributions both as an experimentalist and a theorist. His many contributions to theoretical physics included the identification of the weak nuclear force. The fermi (fm) is named after him, as are an entire class of subatomic particles (fermions), an element (Fermium), and a major research laboratory (Fermilab). His experimental work included studies of radioactivity, for which he won the 1938 Nobel Prize in physics, and creation of the first nuclear chain reaction. (credit: United States Department of Energy, Office of Public Affairs)

The neutrino also reveals a new conservation law. There are various families of particles, one of which is the electron family. We propose that the number of members of the electron family is constant in any process or any closed system. In our example of beta decay, there are no members of the electron family present before the decay, but after, there is an electron and a neutrino. So electrons are given an electron family number of + 1 . The neutrino in β size 12{β rSup { size 8{ - {}} } } {} decay is an electron’s antineutrino    , given the symbol ν ¯ e , where ν is the Greek letter nu, and the subscript e means this neutrino is related to the electron. The bar indicates this is a particle of antimatter    . (All particles have antimatter counterparts that are nearly identical except that they have the opposite charge. Antimatter is almost entirely absent on Earth, but it is found in nuclear decay and other nuclear and particle reactions as well as in outer space.) The electron’s antineutrino ν ¯ e , being antimatter, has an electron family number of –1 . The total is zero, before and after the decay. The new conservation law, obeyed in all circumstances, states that the total electron family number is constant . An electron cannot be created without also creating an antimatter family member. This law is analogous to the conservation of charge in a situation where total charge is originally zero, and equal amounts of positive and negative charge must be created in a reaction to keep the total zero.

Questions & Answers

does the force in a system result in the energy transfer?
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remains the temperature
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Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
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the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
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