# Can a gamma ray or x-ray cause an isotope change of a nucleus with all its electrons stripped away?

I learned that Sodium22 atoms decay to Neon 22 by ($$\beta$$+) (positron) emission. Also some other radioactive elements isotopes can undergo positron emission or electron absorption with a similar result.

Would it be possible to strip all the electrons away from a Ne22 nucleus, then hit it with a gamma-ray photon or maybe an x-ray photon causing it to emit an electron and become Na22?

Ne22($$\gamma$$) = Na22($$\beta$$)

In other words, can electric charge influence radioactivity and can a gamma photon turn a stable isotope into an unstable one?

By X-rays, I mean slightly longer wavelength than gamma. I believe that if an X-ray hit a non-ionized Ne22 atom it would simply knock off one or more electrons from the atom but what if an X-ray hit a Ne22 nucleus with all it's electrons already stripped away? With no more electrons to knock off, could it cause one of the neutrons to emit an electron and the nucleus become Na22?

• Well, gamma levels of nuclei and known gamma-induced nuclear reactions can be found at nndc.bnl.gov/ensdf or mirror sites. Apr 2, 2021 at 19:04

The beta decay is more precisely written as $$n \to p^{+} + e^{-} + \bar\nu_e$$ which means a neutron from the nucleus decays into a proton, an electron, and an electron anti-neutrino. In this equation the electric charge is conserved, as well as the lepton number. Hence, you definitely have to change your equation.
Usually, $$^{22}Ne$$ is considered to be stable. This is to say that it is energetically favourable for the nucleus to keep this configuration. However, I cannot think of a reason why the decay rate should be exactly zero, if we feed enough energy to the nucleus. Of course the energy must be huge, because the "natural" energy scale of the nucleus are several MeV. Gamma rays possess these energies, but stripping the electrons will probably yield only energies in the keV range, see Wiki. Thus, stripping the electrons contributes only a tiny amount of the "natural energy scale" of the nucleus.