EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EQUINOX GRAPHICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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.
Model release not required. Property release not required.