When an atomic nucleus undergoes a transition and emits a gamma ray, the wave function of the nucleus changes, which can result in a slight redistribution in charge.

Some electron orbitals have a finite probability near $r=0$ and so will overlap with the nuclear charge distribution.

This leads me to suspect that the electromagnetic transition rate of a nucleus can sometimes be slightly sensitive to whether the nucleus is bare or in a neutral atom replete with $Z$ electrons.

But I could be wrong.

Question: Can a nuclear electromagnetic transition rate be affected by the electron configuration (e.g. bare nucleus vs neutral atom)? Are there any experimental examples of this?

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    $\begingroup$ There are atoms that are stable, but make radioactive ions. I can never remember what they are. I think they're at GSI. $\endgroup$
    – JEB
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ @JEB the atoms are at GSI? Like in a bottle or something? :-) Yes those guys do all kins of interesting things with heavy ions, including seeing things that aren't there ;-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 1:51


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