My textbook says that : " When a nucleus in an atom undergoes a radioactive decay, the electronic energy levels of the atom changes for alpha and beta radioactovity but not for gamma radioactovity. " My question : If the electronic energy levels are changed, shouldn't there be emission of energy radiations commonly associated with electronic transitions ? Why is there no change in gamma emission ?

  • $\begingroup$ Alpha and beta decay eject charged particles from the nucleus, altering its charge and its interactions with electrons, which in turn alter the electronic energy levels. Gamma radiation leaves the nucleus charge unchanged, and the electronic levels are not affected, at least in first approximation. As for what happens to the electrons, perhaps this page can help: "In the alpha decay of Radon-222 what happens to the electrons?" scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=215. The disruption is obviously strong enough to cause many things, but I am only familiar with the basic ones. $\endgroup$
    – udrv
    Oct 4, 2015 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ By definition, gammas come from nuclear transitions, while x-rays come from electronic transitions. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 4, 2015 at 15:31


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.