# Effect of temperature on radioactivity?

I'm researching the effect of temperature on uranium radioactivity, however I can't find any solid empirical evidence to prove the notion that temperature does not affect radioactivity.

Can anyone link to some solid data on the topic, or offer some advice on where to find such data?

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related: PSE-is-there-a-way-to-decrease-the-rate-of-nuclear-beta-decay, check link provided by voix. – Helder Velez Aug 14 '11 at 18:35
sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168900210007345 Decay is dependent on the proximity to the Sun. However it is unlike that the temperature has anything to do with this. – inf3rno Nov 30 '13 at 15:53
$$\tau\left(T\right) = \tau(0)\left(1+\frac{3 k T}{2 m c^2}\right)$$ – Count Iblis Sep 5 '15 at 2:21

What do you mean by "prove"? If you mean in a strict mathematical sense, then looking for such assurances is a lost cause.

There are quite a wide variety of papers on this matter. Curie attacked this particular problem in 1913 with radium. They immersed a radium source in liquid hydrogen for more than an hour and didn't find a change of more than 0.1% in its activity. You can read more from the paper by Curie & Kamerlingh Onnes entitled, "The radiation of radium at the temperature of liquid hydrogen" in KNAW, Proceedings, 15 II, 1912-1913, pp. 1430-1441. People even claimed, from Russia, that polonium's activity varied depending on geography. Hardly the case.

More recently, work has been done on the half-life decay rate of $^{97}Ru$ without seeing a noticeable temperature dependence near 20K compared with RT. See the paper by Goodwin, Golovko, Iacob and Hardy entitled, "Half-life of the electron-capture decay of $^{97}$Ru: Precision measurement shows no temperature dependence" in Physical Review C (2009), 80, 045501.

It could be that there is a small dependence, but not even the Russian paper mentioned above by Martin agrees there is a measurable temperature dependence.

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Whoops. That's because I gave you a slightly wrong title, it should be "hydrogen" instead of "nitrogen." Here is a PDF of it: dwc.knaw.nl/DL/publications/PU00013080.pdf . I don't see any tables in there, but they do give the current values they obtained on pg. 11 of that PDF. – Chris Aug 14 '11 at 2:45
@MathStudent: You have been pointed at papers. Papers are where empirical data is published, take it and be happy or resign yourself to doing every experiment yourself. – dmckee Aug 14 '11 at 2:50
That's perfect Chris, thanks for the link! – MathsStudent Aug 14 '11 at 4:36

There are suggestions that low (>1K) temperatures slow the decay rate - at least for some large atoms

Reference: G. M. Gurevich et al.: The effect of metallic environment and low temperature on the 253Es $\alpha$ decay rate. Link

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Interesting, however I am looking for empirical evidence to the contrary. – MathsStudent Aug 14 '11 at 2:39
You looking for evidence that something doesn't happen? Philosophically that's a bit tricky ! – Martin Beckett Aug 14 '11 at 2:44
The Gurevich paper shows that alpha decay is not affected by low temperatures, which is the opposite of what you wrote. – Ben Crowell Aug 14 '11 at 20:26