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radioactive decay

noun, Physics.
decay (def 8).
Origin of radioactive decay
1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for radioactive decay
  • The point of the experiment is that radioactive decay is a quantum process.
  • The ash contains minerals such as zircon that can be dated precisely from the radioactive decay of some of their components.
  • The vial will be broken if a certain atom undergoes a radioactive decay.
  • Ionization is also triggered by ultraviolet light, fires and the radioactive decay of certain elements.
  • Positrons and anti-neutrinos are pretty easy, because they are products of natural radioactive decay.
  • C are produced from the radioactive decay of certain fission fragments.
  • Materials that emit this kind of radiation are said to be radioactive and to undergo radioactive decay.
  • The structure of the atom is essential to the study of radioactive decay and radiochemistry.
  • Isotopes that are unstable and undergo radioactive decay are called radioisotopes.
  • The unstable isotopes change over time into more stable isotopes, in a process called radioactive decay.
British Dictionary definitions for radioactive decay

radioactive decay

disintegration of a nucleus that occurs spontaneously or as a result of electron capture. One or more different nuclei are formed and usually particles and gamma rays are emitted Sometimes shortened to decay Also called disintegration
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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radioactive decay in Science
radioactive decay
The spontaneous transformation of an unstable atomic nucleus into a lighter one, in which radiation is released in the form of alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, and other particles. The rate of decay of radioactive substances such as carbon 14 or uranium is measured in terms of their half-life. See also decay, radioisotope.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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