In alpha decay, does a neutron decay into a proton and an electron.?

1 Answer
Sep 25, 2016

Answer:

No, not quite.

Explanation:

When a radioactive nuclide undergoes alpha decay, its nucleus of emits an alpha particle, which is essentially the nucleus of a helium-4 atom.

More specifically, an alpha particle contains #2# protons and #2# neutrons, which gives it a mass number of #4#.

https://www.mirion.com/introduction-to-radiation-safety/types-of-ionizing-radiation/

Now, what you're describing in the question is actually very close to being a beta decay, also known as a beta minus decay.

When a radioactive nuclide undergoes beta decay, one of its neutrons in being converted into a proton. At the same time, an electron, also called beta particle, and an electron antineutrino are emitted from the nucleus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_decay

So remember

  • alpha decay #-># occurs when the nucleus emits an alpha particle

#color(red)(!)# Here nothing is being converted inside the nucleus

  • beta decay #-># occurs when the nucleus emits an electron and an electron antineutrino.

#color(red)(!)# Here a neutron is being converted into a proton and an electron