What does gamma decay release?

Jun 27, 2016

Gamma rays (photons).

Explanation:

When a nucleus of an atom has too much energy, it can emit this energy in the form of a photon (electromagnetic radiation).

This photon, or gamma ray ($\gamma$), has no mass and no charge, it is a wave such as a light wave but with a much shorter wavelength: < 0.01 nm (visible light is in the range of ~400-700 nm).

When a nucleus emits a photon, the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus remains the same. This is why it is called isomeric transition.

The general form of the equation for this decay is:

${\text{_Z^(Am)X -> ""_Z^AX + }}_{0}^{0} \gamma$

in which $A$ is the mass number of a certain nuclide $X$ and $Z$ the atomic number (number of protons). The $m$ indicates that it is an isomere c.q. metastable state of nucllide $X$.