How can beta plus decay be possible

Beta plus decay

In addition to beta decay, in which a neutron decays into a proton, an electron and an anti-neutrino, there is also the decay of a proton into a neutron. A positron, the antiparticle of the electron, and a neutrino are generated. Since the resulting positron has the same properties as an electron of beta radiation, but has a positive charge, the positron radiation is called Beta-plus radiation designated.

Beta-plus decay can only occur within an atomic nucleus. A free proton is lighter than a neutron and therefore cannot decay into a neutron and other particles. So the energy of a beta plus decay comes from the atomic nucleus. The resulting core must have a little less energy than the original core.

The weak nuclear force, mediated by w bosons, is responsible for the beta plus decay.

Nuclear transformation

In beta-plus decay, the atom transforms into another element. The new element is one atomic number lower in the periodic table, it has one less nuclear charge.

The positron produced in the beta-plus decay will very quickly annihilate with an electron from normal matter. This creates two photons with very characteristic properties. In medicine this is used for diagnosis. This imaging process is called Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

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Last change: 07/12/2004