What is a negative beta decay?

1 Answer
Mar 25, 2018

Well, it is also known as beta-minus decay.


Negative beta decay is one of the two types of beta decay. It is also the one that does not produce any antimatter.

During beta-minus decay, an atom converts one of its neutrons into a proton, while releasing an electron and an antineutrino in the process. This happens when an atom does not have a lot of protons but has a bit too many neutrons.

A simple example would be carbon-#14#. During beta-minus decay, it converts into nitrogen-#14# and releases an electron and an antineutrino in the process. The equation is:


  • #e^-# is an electron

  • #barv# is an antineutrino

Note that I included the proton number at the bottom so it was easier to see the difference in the new atom.

During beta-decay, no mass is lost, and the total mass stays constant before and after the reaction.