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in beta decay a newtron splits into an electron and a proton. the proton remains in the nucleus increasing its charge by one. the electron is emitted out of the atom. how is the charge of the extra proton balanced?

5 years ago


Answers : (1)


Dear student,

Beta particles are electrons or positrons (electrons with positive electric charge, or antielectrons). Beta decay occurs when, in a nucleus with too many protons or too many neutrons, one of the protons or neutrons is transformed into the other. In beta minus decay, a neutron decays into a proton, an electron, and an antineutrino: n Æ p + e - +. In beta plus decay, a proton decays into a neutron, a positron, and a neutrino: p Æ n + e+ +n. Both reactions occur because in different regions of the Chart of the Nuclides, one or the other will move the product closer to the region of stability. These particular reactions take place because conservation laws are obeyed. Electric charge conservation requires that if an electrically neutral neutron becomes a positively charged proton, an electrically negative particle (in this case, an electron) must also be produced. Similarly, conservation of lepton number requires that if a neutron (lepton number = 0) decays into a proton (lepton number = 0) and an electron (lepton number = 1), a particle with a lepton number of -1 (in this case an antineutrino) must also be produced. The leptons emitted in beta decay did not exist in the nucleus before the decay–they are created at the instant of the decay.


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B.Tech, IIT Delhi

5 years ago

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