AQA GCSE Physics

Revision Notes

4.2.6 Gamma Decay

Gamma Decay

  • During gamma decay, a gamma ray is emitted from an unstable nucleus
  • The process that makes the nucleus less energetic but does not change its structure

Gamma decay, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Physics revision notes

Gamma decay does not affect the mass number or the atomic number of the radioactive nucleus, but it does reduce the energy of the nucleus

  • The gamma ray that is emitted has a lot of energy, but no mass or charge
  • Here is an example of Uranium-238 undergoing gamma decay
    • Notice that the mass number and atomic number of the unstable nuclei remains the same during the decay

Gamma decay equation, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Physics revision notes

Although the Uranium nucleus is unchanged in structure, its energy reduces during gamma decay

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