What is beta decay?

1 Answer
May 11, 2018

It is a type of nuclear decay of course.


Beta-decay is a type of decay that releases beta particles. There are two types of beta-decay, hence two types of beta particles. The basic one without involving antimatter is beta-minus decay.

During beta-minus decay, an atom converts one of its neutrons into a proton, while releasing an antineutrino #(barv)# and a beta-minus particle, or an electron #(e^-)#.

The general equation is:


The other type is beta-plus decay, and involves antimatter. During beta-plus decay, an atom converts one of its protons into a neutron, while releasing a neutrino #(v)# and a positron #(e^+)# in the process.

The equation is then: