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How can the standard model be used to explain gamma radiation? Maybe I should say how does the theory of quarks, weak force, and strong force combine to explain gamma ray emission during a decay reaction.

Wikipedia has an interesting decay where Co-60 decays to Ni-60 via Beta decay then two separate gamma ray emissions; sometimes (0.12%) it is a Beta decay then one gamma ray emission. I understand why the emission must happen due to the nuclear binding energy but not why this is necessary in theory or the framework of the standard model and quantum mechanics.

Can someone explain the theoretical framework for this specific decay of Co-60 to Ni-60?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you familar with the nuclear shell model? (IOW, that neutrons & protons can be modelled (reasonably well) with a shell structure similar to the electron shells). $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 4:02
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring, No, dont know about it at all. Will have to google this, thankyou. $\endgroup$
    – Jason
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ No worries. I guess en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_shell_model is an ok starting point, if you know some of the basics of QM (and are fairly comfortably with the electron shell model), and it will give you the basic concepts and terminology (eg magic numbers). There are lots of answers on this site about the nuclear shell model, but they can be hard to read if you don't know the terminology (and at least some QM). $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 17:55

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To understand the answer to that question I am studying theoretical physics. Standard Model is the only consistent theory that we have which allows changing type of the particles. decay of Co-60 to Ni-60 is particularly interesting because it violates parity i.e. if you reflect it in a mirror it behaves differently. Read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_experiment

Standard model allows the the particles can decay into another particles under some conditions. In case of Co-60 a neutron turns into a proton, electron and anti-neutrino. the remaining is Ni-60 which is excited i.e. has some extra energies. then Ni-60 emits the extra energy is form of two photons (2 photons because angular momentum should be conserved).

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  • $\begingroup$ And sometimes only one photon. Any conceivably no photon (but extremely rare if it does). Check ENSDF. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 2:15
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    $\begingroup$ @JonCuster "sometimes" One more proof that it is quantum mechanics with its probabilities that reigns in the frame of nuclei. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 6:48
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    $\begingroup$ @annav - fully agree, which is why nuclear physics followed directly after quantum mechanics in the 1920’s-1930’s. Once the tools where there it was ‘obvious’ (for a value of ‘obvious’ that I could not have comprehend). $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Dec 13, 2020 at 16:42

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