Advantages And Disadvantages Of Internal Conversion

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Internal conversion is a radioactive decay process wherein an excited nucleus interacts electromagnetically with one the orbital electrons of the atom. This causes the electron to be emitted (ejected) from the atom. Thus, in an internal conversion process, a high-energy electron is emitted from the radioactive atom, not from the nucleus. For this reason, the high-speed electrons resulting from internal conversion are not beta particles, since the latter come from beta decay, where they are newly created in the nuclear decay process. Internal conversion is possible whenever gamma decay is possible, except in the case where the atom is fully ionized. During internal conversion, the atomic number does not change, and thus (as is the case with gamma decay) no transmutation of one element to another takes place. However, since an electron is lost, a hole appears in an electron shell which is subsequently filled producing an x ray or an Auger electron. Since electrons from internal conversion carry a fixed fraction of the characteristic decay energy, they have a discrete energy spectrum rather than the spread (continuous) spectrum characteristic of beta particles. Whereas the energy spectrum of beta particles plots as a broad hump, the energy spectrum of internally converted electrons plots as a single sharp peak. II. The difference between internal…show more content…
This means that there is a finite probability of finding the electron within the nucleus. When this happens, the electron may couple to an excited energy state of the nucleus and take the energy of the nuclear transition directly, without an intermediate gamma ray being first produced. The kinetic energy of the emitted electron is equal to the transition energy in the nucleus, minus the binding energy of the electron to the
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