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Is it true that Alpha decay can occur after beta decay and that Alpha decay and beta decay cannot happen at same time ?
If yes is my reasoning correct :

For both decays to occur together they would need to together excite one neutron and one proton to convert to antineutrino, alpha particle and a new element Y which is not favourable . Hence they cannot occur together but one by one they can , this is the reason too why an element can only be a alpha or beta emitter but not both?

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  • $\begingroup$ I am confused by your reasoning. "For both decays to occur together they would need to together excite one neutron and one proton..." who are 'they' here (the decays?) and how do they excite particles, and why do they do this together? $\endgroup$
    – Koschi
    Apr 13, 2022 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ Alpha and beta decay are different elementary/nuclear processes, the first is a tunneling process where electromagnetic forces overcome the strong force in a large nucleus. Beta decay is a process mediated by the weak force. The nuclear configurations in which these processes are likely to happen are different. $\endgroup$
    – Koschi
    Apr 13, 2022 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ They referred to the decays for happening simultaneously they would need that ... But yeah thanks understood @Koschi $\endgroup$
    – Orion_Pax
    Apr 13, 2022 at 9:29

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No, this is not correct.

Some isotopes can decay both via alpha decay or via beta decay, e.g. many isotopes of Bismuth.

In decay chains, an isotope can first decay via an alpha decay, and then the daughter can decay via a beta decay. And vice versa. See e.g. the Radon decay chains.

For an alpha decay to happen at the same time as a beta decay, that probability is arbitrarily small; the two processes are mediated by different forces (alpha decay goes via the Strong/EM force, beta decay via the Weak force) and really have nothing to do with each other.

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  • $\begingroup$ Understood now fully , initially i was not knowing the origin of these two decays but you fully explained how. $\endgroup$
    – Orion_Pax
    Apr 13, 2022 at 9:27

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