radioactivity: Gamma Radiation

Gamma Radiation

Gamma rays have very great penetrating power and are not affected at all by a magnetic field. They move at the speed of light and have a very short wavelength (or high frequency); thus they are a type of electromagnetic radiation (see gamma radiation). Gamma rays result from the transition of nuclei from excited states (higher energy) to their ground state (lowest energy), and their production is analogous to the emission of ordinary light caused by transitions of electrons within the atom (see atom; spectrum). Gamma decay often accompanies alpha or beta decay and affects neither the atomic number nor the mass number of the nucleus.

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