radioactivity: Beta Radiation

Beta Radiation

Beta rays are more penetrating than alpha rays, move at a very high speed, and are deflected considerably by a magnetic field in a direction that indicates a negative charge; analysis shows that beta rays are high-speed electrons (see beta particle; electron). In beta decay a neutron within the nucleus changes to a proton, in the process emitting an electron and an antineutrino (the antiparticle of the neutrino, a neutral particle with a small mass). The electron is immediately ejected from the nucleus, and the net result is an increase of 1 in the atomic number of the nucleus but no change in the mass number. The thorium-234 produced above experiences two successive beta decays: CE5

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