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Radioactive gamma decay of americium-241

K002/9963

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EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Radioactive gamma ray emission. Animation of a nucleus of americium-241 decaying to neptunium-237 by emitting an alpha particle and a gamma ray. An alpha particle is a high-energy helium nucleus, composed of two protons (red) and two neutrons (yellow). The gamma ray is a photon of very high energy electromagnetic radiation, which is emitted as the departure of the alpha particle leaves the resulting nucleus in a high-energy state. The nucleus emits the gamma ray to permit it to reach a more stable lower energy state. Americium-241 is used in smoke detectors, and has a half-life of 432 years.

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  • Duration: 00:00:22.01
  • Audio: No
  • Interlaced: No
  • Capture Format: QuickTime Animation
  • Codec: None

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