⭐️The process of emission of particles from nuclei because of the nuclear instability; is known as radioactivity.
➖The substance that releases such energy/rays is known as radioactive substance.
➖The invisible rays released from such radioactive substance are known as radioactive rays.
➖Likewise, radioactivity is a nuclear phenomenon that happens (naturally) because of the nuclear instability of atoms.
➖In 1896 Henri Becquerel first observed the phenomena of radioactivity, but the term ‘radioactivity’ was coined by Marie Curie.
➖Marie Curie discovered the radioactive elements namely Polonium and Radium in 1898.
➖For her discovery, Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize.
➖After long years of experiment, Ernest Rutherford along with his colleague (Hans Geiger and his student Ernest Marsden), discovered alpha rays, beta rays, and gamma rays.
➖These rays emitted as the result of the disintegration of atoms.
⭐️Alpha (α) Particles
➖Alpha particles are usually composed of two protons and two neutrons, which are tightly bound together.
➖Alpha particles are being released during radioactive decay (or alpha decay) from the nucleus radio nuclides.
➖The alpha particles are identical to the nucleus of either normal helium atom or doubly ionized helium atom.
➖In comparison to other particles (i.e. Gamma and Beta), alpha particles are heavy and slow. Therefore, alpha particles have very small range in the air.
➖Because of slow speed, Alpha particles have very weak penetrating powers; these particles are even stopped by a thin paper sheet (see image given above).
➖Because of having the double positive charge, alpha particles are highly ionizing.
⭐️Beta (β) Particles
➖Beta particles are the fast moving electrons emitted by some radio nuclides during the radioactive decay (also known as beta decay).
➖Beta particles are of much lighter weight and carry a single negative charge.
➖Beta particles are rarely ionizing than the alpha particles.
➖Because of having lighter weight, beta particles can travel much farther than alpha particles; however, beta particles can be stopped by several sheet of papers or one sheet of aluminum.
➖Beta particles are negatively charged and get attracted towards positively charged particles.
⭐️Gamma (ү) Particles
➖Gamma particles are the bundle of high energy namely electromagnetic energy (photon) emitted by the radioactive elements during the radioactive decay.
➖Among all three particles (alpha, beta, and gamma), gamma particles are the most energetic photons.
➖Gamma particles, which are the form of electromagnetic radiation(EMR), originate from the nucleus.
➖The wavelengths of gamma are the shortest among all three.
➖Gamma particles have no charge and they are neutral; therefore, they are unaffected by magnetic and electric fields.
Uses of Radioactive Elements
➖Medical field (treatment of many diseases)
➖Energy production – Nuclear reactors
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