What is meant by radioactive decay? Explain with an example.
Radioactive decay is a process that occurs amongst atomic nuclei that are too large and are unstable in their naturally occuring state. The large atomic nucleus emits radiation in the form of an alpha particle, a beta particle, or gamma radiation, where it emits a part of itself, and in so doing, decays to a more stable element. A good example would be the element carbon-14, where it emits radiation to its decay daughter element nitrogen. Radioactive decay was first discovered in 1896 by Henri Becquerel in his experiments with a phosphorescent uranium salt. Elements that undergo radioactive decay have a concept known as a half-life, which is the time it takes for a sample of the radioactive material to decay half its nuclei to the more stable daughter element. Theoretically, each half-life halves the amount of radioactive material remaining and never reaches a zero point.
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