SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear decay chain, radium series. Diagram of the nuclear decay chain of uranium-238 (U-238) with isotopes (shown by chemical symbols) plotted by mass number (A) against atomic number (Z). Isotopes are colour-coded by their primary decay route (purple, red arrows: alpha decay; blue, blue arrows: beta decay). Decays are rare (dotted lines) or dominant (solid lines). The dominant route (yellow) ends with the stable (green) lead-206 (Pb-206). Other elements in this natural decay chain are: protactinium (Pa), thorium (Th), radium (Ra), radon (Rn), astatine (At), polonium (Po), bismuth (Bi), thallium (Tl), and mercury (Hg).
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