alpha-particle

Science Dictionary
alpha particle  
A positively charged particle that consists of two protons and two neutrons bound together. It is emitted by an atomic nucleus undergoing radioactive decay and is identical to the nucleus of a helium atom. Because of their relatively large mass, alpha particles are the slowest and least penetrating forms of nuclear radiation. They can be stopped by a piece of paper. See more at radioactive decay.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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