What type of nuclear decay results in the atomic number increasing by one with no change in mass?
There are a variety of nuclear decay reactions, including alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay reactions. In alpha decay, an alpha particle (Helium atom, with a mass number of 4 and atomic number of 2) is released. In beta decay reaction, an electron is released. An electron is considered a particle with negligible mass and a charge of -1. When the electron is released, the charge of the atom increases by 1 and hence its mass number stays the same, but the atomic number increases by 1. Here is an example,
`C^14 _6 -> N^14 _7 + e^0 _-1`
Here, Carbon-14 undergoes beta decay and nitrogen is generated.
In gamma decay reactions, a gamma particle (does not contain mass or charge) is released and hence there is no change in atomic number or mass number of the atom.
Hope this helps.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial