3 types of radioactive dating

The beta particle (electron) emitted is from the atomic nucleus and is not one of the electrons surrounding the nucleus. Emission of an electron does not change the mass number of the nuclide but does increase the number of its protons and decrease the number of its neutrons.

Consequently, the n:p ratio is decreased, and the daughter nuclide lies closer to the band of stability than did the parent nuclide.

Electron capture has the same effect on the nucleus as does positron emission: The atomic number is decreased by one and the mass number does not change.

This increases the n:p ratio, and the daughter nuclide lies closer to the band of stability than did the parent nuclide.

Cobalt-60 emits γ radiation and is used in many applications including cancer treatment: Positron emission is observed for nuclides in which the n:p ratio is low. Positron decay is the conversion of a proton into a neutron with the emission of a positron.

As the outer electron drops into the vacancy, it will emit energy.

Following the somewhat serendipitous discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel, many prominent scientists began to investigate this new, intriguing phenomenon.

Among them were Marie Curie (the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences—chemistry and physics), who was the first to coin the term “radioactivity,” and Ernest Rutherford (of gold foil experiment fame), who investigated and named three of the most common types of radiation.

To perform a PET scan, a positron-emitting radioisotope is produced in a cyclotron and then attached to a substance that is used by the part of the body being investigated.

This “tagged” compound, or radiotracer, is then put into the patient (injected via IV or breathed in as a gas), and how it is used by the tissue reveals how that organ or other area of the body functions. A PET scanner (a) uses radiation to provide an image of how part of a patient’s body functions.

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