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The product of this reaction can be predicted, once again, by assuming that mass and charge are conserved. They rapidly lose their kinetic energy as they pass through matter.As soon as they come to rest, they combine with an electron to form two -ray photons in a matter-antimatter annihilation reaction.-decay are often obtained in an excited state.The binding energy can also be viewed as the amount of energy it would take to rip the nucleus apart to form isolated neutrons and protons.It is therefore literally the energy that binds together the neutrons and protons in the nucleus.The excess energy associated with this excited state is released when the nucleus emits a photon in the -ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.Most of the time, the -ray is emitted within 10Nuclides with atomic numbers of 90 or more undergo a form of radioactive decay known as spontaneous fission in which the parent nucleus splits into a pair of smaller nuclei.Binding energies are usually expressed in units of electron volts (e V) or million electron volts (Me V) per atom.Binding energies gradually increase with atomic number, although they tend to level off near the end of the periodic table.
(Only a handful of nuclides with atomic numbers less than 83 emit an -particle.) The product of -decay is easy to predict if we assume that both mass and charge are conserved in nuclear reactions.The reaction is usually accompanied by the ejection of one or more neutrons.In 1934 Enrico Fermi proposed a theory that explained the three forms of beta decay.Although it is not obvious at first, -decay increases the ratio of neutrons to protons.Consider what happens during the -decay of The difference between the mass of an atom and the sum of the masses of its protons, neutrons, and electrons is called the mass defect.
A more useful quantity is obtained by dividing the binding energy for a nuclide by the total number of protons and neutrons it contains.