Alpha particle tracks from radioactive source

Alpha particle tracks from radioactive source

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Credit: C. POWELL, P. FOWLER & D. PERKINS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: A photographic emulsion impregnated with a radio- active thorium salt reveals the tracks of alpha particles when developed. As Ernest Rutherford & Frederick Soddy found in 1900-1902, the decay of thorium initiates a chain of decays. First one radioactive element is formed, then that decays to another, & so on. This is why the emulsion picture shows the tracks of two or more alpha particles emerging from the same spot: they are the result of successive stages in the decay of a single nucleus. (The length of the alpha tracks in this negative picture is about 0.03 mm).

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Keywords: alpha particle, black and white, black-and-white, emulsion photo, emulsion photograph, image, monochrome image, particle, particle physics, particles, photographic, radioactivity, subatomic track, thorium, tracks

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