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Nuclear Physics in a Nutshell by Carlos A. Bertulani

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7Alpha-Decay

7.1 Introduction

The emission of an α-particle is a possible nuclear disintegration process in situations in which (5.12) is satisfied. In contrast with the restricted existence of emitters of light fragments, α-emitter nuclei are largely due to the large binding energy of the α-particle. In turn, the α-emitting process is energetically advantageous in practically all nuclei with A Image 150. Figure 7.1, based on the balance of masses, exhibits the energy available by emission of several nuclei for 239Pu. We see that α-emission is the only energetically possible process.

Very rarely one detects emission of heavier fragments, with A > 4. ...

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