Be cosmogenic dating

11-Feb-2020 07:06 by 2 Comments

Be cosmogenic dating

The radioactive decay can produce a stable nuclide or will sometimes produce a new unstable radionuclide which may undergo further decay.

This excess energy can be used in one of three ways: emitted from the nucleus as gamma radiation; transferred to one of its electrons to release it as a conversion electron; or used to create and emit a new particle (alpha particle or beta particle) from the nucleus.

The process of nuclear fission creates a wide range of fission products, most of which are radionuclides.

Further radionuclides can be created from irradiation of the nuclear fuel (creating a range of actinides) and of the surrounding structures, yielding activation products.

Most of those are only produced artificially, and have very short half-lives.

For comparison, there are about 254 stable nuclides. Even the lightest element, hydrogen, has a well-known radionuclide, tritium.

Elements heavier than lead, and the elements technetium and promethium, exist only as radionuclides.

Unplanned exposure to radionuclides generally has a harmful effect on living organisms including humans, although low levels of exposure occur naturally without harm.

Radionuclides are present in many homes as they are used inside the most common household smoke detectors.

The radionuclide used is americium-241, which is created by bombarding plutonium with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.

The degree of harm will depend on the nature and extent of the radiation produced, the amount and nature of exposure (close contact, inhalation or ingestion), and the biochemical properties of the element; with increased risk of cancer the most usual consequence.

However, radionuclides with suitable properties are used in nuclear medicine for both diagnosis and treatment.

Radionuclides that find their way into the environment may cause harmful effects as radioactive contamination.

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