CHMA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 39: Atomic Number, Positron, Atomic Orbital

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CHMA10 Lecture 36: Radioactivity and Nuclear Chemistry
- Radioactivity: emission of subatomic particles or high energy electromagnetic radiation
by the nuclei of certain atoms
o Atoms able to emit this radiation are said to be radioactive
o Radioactive isotopes are commonly utilized in medicine to treat many patients
o Types of radioactivity
Natural radioactivity can be categorized into several different types
Alpha Decay
Beta Decay
Gamma Ray Emission
Positron Emission
Electron Capture
Defining the types of radioactivity
Alpha Decay: phenomenon that occurs when an unstable nucleus
emits a particle that is composed of two protons and two
neutrons
o Two protons and two neutrons in a particle mean that the
particle will be identical to helium
o Therefore the symbol for alpha radiation is the same as
the symbol for helium-4
o Elements that emit alpha particles undergo changes to the
number of protons in their nucleus
This thus changes the element into a completely
different element
Parent Nuclei: the original atom
Daughter Nuclei: the product of the process of
radioactive decay
o Ionizing Power: the ability of radiation to ionize other
molecules and atoms
Alpha radiation has the higher ionizing power out
of all types of radioactivity
o Penetrating Power: the ability to penetrate matter
Due to the large size of alpha particles, they have
the lowest ability to penetrate other matter, thus
giving them the lower penetrating power out of all
types of radioactivity
Beta Decay: phenomenon that occurs when an unstable nucleus
emits an electron
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