Internal Conversion

Internal conversion is a radioactive decay process where an excited nucleus interacts with an electron in one of the lower atomic orbitals, causing the electron to be emitted (ejected) from the atom. Thus, in an internal conversion process, a high-energy electron is emitted from the radioactive atom, but not from the nucleus. For this reason, the high-speed electrons from internal conversion are not beta particles (β particles), since the latter come from beta decay. Since no beta decay takes place during internal conversion, the element atomic number does not change, and thus (as is the case with gamma decay) no transmutation of one element to another is seen. Also, no neutrino is emitted during internal conversion.

Internally converted electrons do not have the characteristic energetically-spread spectrum of β particles, which results from varying amounts of decay-energy being carried off by the neutrino (or antineutrino) in beta decay. Internally converted electrons, which carry a fixed fraction of the characteristic decay energy, have a well-specified discrete energy. The energy spectrum of a β particle is thus a broad hump, extending to a maximum decay energy value, while the spectrum of internally converted electrons has a sharp peak.

Read more about Internal Conversion:  Mechanism, When The Process Is Expected, Similar Processes

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