Basic Knowledge of Properties of Alpha, Beta and Gamma Particles

Physics

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Alpha,beta and gamma particles

Alpha particleBeta particleGamma particle
It is a helium atom and contains two neutrons and two protonsIt is an electron or a positron emitted by the decay  of  nucleus It is an energetic photon or light wave.
Heavier than beta and gamma particlesMuch lighter than alpha particlesIt is a wave unlike alpha and beta particles.
Least penetrating energy. A sheet of paper or a 3-cm layer of air is sufficient to stop them.They can be stopped, for instance, by an aluminium sheet a few millimetres thick or by 3 metres of air.Highest penetrating energy.Gamma waves can be stopped by a thick or dense enough layer material, with high atomic number materials such as lead or depleted uranium being the most effective form of shielding.

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Impact parameter

The trajectory traced by an -particle depends on the impact parameter, of collision. The impact parameter is the perpendicular distance of the initial velocity vector of the -particle from the centre of the nucleus.
where is the impact parameter and  is the scattering angle.

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The properties of alpha particles

1. The speed of alpha particles is of the order of m/s. 
2. Alpha particles strongly ionises the gas through which it passes.
3. Alpha particles rapidly loses its energy as it moves through a medium and therefore its penetrating power is quite small.
4. Alpha particles are positively charged.
5. Alpha particles affect a photographic plate.
6. Alpha particles cause fluorescence on striking a fluorescent material.

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The properties of beta particles

1. Beta particles are the fast moving electrons emitted from the nucleus of an atom.
2. Although beta-particle and the cathode rays both are the fast moving electrons, but they differ in their origin. Beta-particles are given out from the nucleus of the atom while cathode rays are given out from its orbital electrons.
3. The speed of Beta particles is of the order of m/s.
4. Beta particles ionise the gas through which they pass.
5. Penetrating power of Beta-particles is more than that of alpha particles. 
6. Beta particles affect a photographic plate.

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The properties of gamma radiations

1. Gamma radiations are the electromagnetic waves like X-rays and light, but they differ from X-rays and light in wavelength.
2. The speed of Gamma-radiations is the same as the speed of light.
3. The ionising power of Gamma-radiations is very low.
4. Gamma radiations affect a photographic plate.
5. Gamma radiations cause fluorescence when they strike a fluorescent material.

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