What is beta minus?

Apr 14, 2018

A ${\beta}^{-}$ particle is just an electron, ""_(-1)^(0) e. We see that in $\boldsymbol{{\beta}^{-}}$ decay, or we sometimes call it "beta decay". In this process, a neutron will split into a proton and electron as given below:

${\text{_(1)^(0) n -> ""_(1)^(1)p + }}_{- 1}^{0} e$, $\text{ } Z \to Z + 1$

(here we ignore neutrinos and antineutrinos.)

In fact, it is the only nuclear decay process out of $\alpha$ decay, $\beta$ decay, positron emission, and electron capture to raise the atomic number by $1$.

One might also call it the reverse process to electron capture, wherein a core electron is assimilated by a proton in the nucleus to form a neutron.

${\text{_(1)^(1) p + ""_(-1)^(0) e -> }}_{1}^{0} n$, $\text{ } Z \to Z - 1$

(again, here we ignore neutrinos and antineutrinos.)