beta decay

noun Physics.
a radioactive process in which a beta particle is emitted from the nucleus of an atom, raising the atomic number of the atom by one if the particle is negatively charged, lowering it by one if positively charged.

Origin:
1930–35

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
beta decay
 
n
beta transformation, Also called: beta process the radioactive transformation of an atomic nucleus accompanying the emission of an electron. It involves unit change of atomic number but none in mass number

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
beta decay  
A form of radioactive decay caused by the weak nuclear force, in which a beta particle (electron or positron) is emitted. ◇ In beta-minus decay, a neutron in an atomic nucleus decays into a proton, an electron, and an antineutrino. The electron and antineutrino are emitted from the nucleus, while the proton remains. The atomic number of the atom is thereby increased by 1. The decay of Carbon-14 into Nitrogen-14, a phenomenon useful in carbon dating, is an example of beta-minus decay. ◇ In beta-plus decay, a proton in an atomic nucleus decays into a neutron, a positron, and a neutrino. The positron and neutrino are emitted from the nucleus, while the neutron remains. The atomic number of the atom is thereby reduced by 1. The decay of Carbon-10 to Boron-10 is an example of beta-plus decay. See also W boson.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The neutrino was first noticed as missing energy in nuclear beta decay.
So in the case of an ideal bottle, the rate of decay should be equal to the
  beta decay rate.
The easiest place to look for a trace of symmetry is in the beta decay of
  neutrons, where the asymmetry was first discovered.
The data indicated that the mean energy emitted by the beta particles was far
  less than the total energy lost per beta decay.
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