Radioactive Decay and Interaction of Radiation with Matter

  • Gopal B. Saha


Matter is composed of atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus containing protons (Z) and neutrons (N), collectively called nucleons, and electrons rotating around the nucleus. The sum of neutrons and protons (total number of nucleons) is the mass number denoted by A. The properties of neutrons, protons, and electrons are listed in Table 1.1. The number of electrons in an atom is equal to the number of protons (atomic number Z) in the nucleus. The electrons rotate along different energy shells designated as K-shell, L-shell, M-shell, etc. (Fig. 1.1). Each shell further consists of subshells or orbitals, e.g., the K-shell has s orbital; the L-shell has s and p orbitals; the M-shell has s, p, and d orbitals, and the N-shell has s, p, d, and f orbitals. Each orbital can accommodate only a limited number of electrons. For example, the s orbital contains up to 2 electrons; the p orbital, 6 electrons; the d orbital, 10 electrons; and the f orbital, 14 electrons. The capacity number of electrons in each orbital adds up to give the maximum number of electrons that each energy shell can hold. Thus, the K-shell contains 2 electrons; the L-shell 8 electrons, the M-shell 18 electrons, and so forth.


Atomic Number Pair Production Electron Capture Linear Energy Transfer Isomeric State 
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References and Suggested Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gopal B. Saha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineThe Cleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA

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