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Nuclear Physics in a Nutshell by Carlos A. Bertulani

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9 Gamma-Decay

9.1 Introduction

The quantum system of A nucleons that form the nucleus has, above its state of lowest energy (ground state), a large number of possible excited states that can be accessed if enough energy is given to the system. The transitions among these states, either through excitation or through de-excitation, are accomplished mainly through γ-radiation, which embraces a high energy region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This region is located basically between 0.1 MeV and 10 MeV, being a 1 MeV γ-ray of order 3 × 105 times more energetic than violet light.

Besides the energy released, another characteristic parameter is the half-life of the decaying state. Half-lives for γ-emission can vary from 10−17s to 100 years; even ...

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