Notes on radioactivity

Radioactivity is the umbrella name given to the production of alpha, beta or gamma radiation from the nucleus of an atom. The first and second sheets of notes illustrate the basic properties of radioactivity. These are of the effect of magnetic and electric fields on each type of radiation and the range / penetration of each.

The third and fourth sheets explain the idea of half life and how it is found experimentally. The value of half-life is mathematically connected to the decay constant which is explained.

The fifth sheet explains an important application of the knowledge of half life in the process of carbon dating. We use carbon dating to estimate the age of ancient organic material by measuring the amount of radioactive carbon in it and comparing that the the amount we would expect that it had when alive.

The last two sheets go into some detail on the effect of radioactivity on the parent atom including reference to Feynman diagrams.

There are connected video lessons free to view here.

There is a range of video lessons on atomic structure and radioactivity available to buy on data stick. Details here.