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Prepared by Tilahun Tesfaye, Ph.D.
This module has four major sections
The first one is the INTRODUCTORY section that consists of five parts vis:
1. TITLE:- The title of the module is clearly described
2. PRE-REQUISIT KNOWLEDE: In this section you are provided with
information regarding the specific pre-requisite knowledge and skills you
require starting the module. Carefully look into the requirements as this will
help you to decide whether you require some revision work or not.
3. TI!E REQUIRED: It gives you the total time in hours! you require to
complete the module. "ll self tests# activities and evaluations are to be
finished in this specified time.
4. !ATERIALS REQUIRED: $ere you will find the list of materials you require
to complete the module. %ome of the materials are parts of the course
package you will receive in a C&-'om or access through the internet.
(aterials recommended to conduct some e)periments may be obtained
from your host institution *artner institution of the "+,! or you may acquire
borrow by some other means.
5. !ODULE RATIONALE: In this section you will get the answer to questions
like -.hy should I study this module as pre-service teacher trainee/ .hat
is its relevance to my career/0
The second is the CONTENT section that consists of three parts:
6. O"ER"IEW# The content of the module is briefly presented. In this section
you will fined a video file 1uickTime# movie! where the author of this
module is interviewed about this module. The paragraph overview of the
module is followed by an outline of the content including the appro)imate
time required to complete each section. " graphic organi2ation of the whole
content is presented ne)t to the outline. "ll these three will assist you to
picture how content is organi2ed in the module.
7. ENERAL OB$ECTI"E%S&# Clear informative# concise and
understandable objectives are provided to give you what knowledge skills
and attitudes you are e)pected to attain after studying the module.
3ach of the specific objectives# stated in this section# is at the heart of a
teaching learning activity. ,nits# elements and themes of the module are
meant to achieve the specific objectives and any kind of assessment is
based on the objectives intended to be achieved. 4ou are urged to pay
ma)imum attention to the specific objectives as they are vital to organi2e
your effort in the study of the module.
The third section is the bulk of the module. It is the section where you will spend
more time and is referred to as the TEAC'IN LEARNIN ACTI"ITIES.
The gist of the nine components is listed below:
9. PRE-ASSESS!ENT: " set of questions# that will quantitatively evaluate
your level of preparedness to the specific objectives of this module# are
presented in this section. The pre-assessment questions help you to
identify what you know and what you need to know# so that your level of
concern will be raised and you can judge your level of mastery. "nswer key
is provided for the set of questions and some pedagogical comments are
provided at the end.
10. TEAC'IN AND LEARNIN ACTI"ITIES# This is the heart of the module.
4ou need to follow the learning guidance in this section. +arious types of
activities are provided. 5o through each activity. "t times you my not
necessarily follow the order in which the activities are presented. It is very
important to note:
formative and summative evaluations are carried out thoroughly
all compulsory readings and resources are done
as many as possible useful links are visited
feedback is given to the author and communication is done
contains short# concise definitions of terms used in the module. It helps you
with terms which you might not be familiar with in the module.
12. CO!PILED LIST OF CO!PULSORY READINS# " minimum of three
compulsory reading materials are provided. It is mandatory to read the
of copyright free multimedia resources referenced in# and required for
completion of# the learning activities is presented.
14. CO!PILED LIST OF USEFUL LINKS# a list of at least 67 relevant web
sites. that help you understand the topics covered in the module are
presented. 8or each link# complete reference Title of the site# ,'9!# a
screen capture of each link as well as a :7 word description are provided.
15. SYNT'ESIS OF T'E !ODULE# %ummary of the module is presented.
3njoy your work on this module.
;4 TI9"$,< T3%8"43 "&&I% ";";" ,<I+3'%IT4 3T$I=*I"
In order to study this module you need to complete the 1,"<T,( (3C$"<IC%
of the "+, Teachers> Training (odule.
This module can be completed in 6?7hrs.
The following list identifies and describes the equipment necessary for all of the
activities in this module. The quantities listed are required for each group.
6. C)*+u,er: - " personal computer with word processing and spreadsheet
?. PCNu-a, %Free s).,/are&: - <uclear database.
.e need to study nuclear physics because it is fundamental to understanding our
lives and the physical world around us. .e are all made from the products of
e)ploding stars. *rocesses like the creation of chemical elements production of
energy in stars and on 3arth are understood in nuclear studies.
;uilding matter with quarks and leptons# neutrons# protons# deuterons# <uclei and
decay of matter as in emission of alpha# beta# gamma particles and fission are all
nuclear phenomena.
<uclear processes are used all around us and there are key applications in many
aspects of our lives:
'adioactivity in medicine# industry and research
o <uclear (agnetic 'esonance cancer!#
o %ecurity e.g. mine detection!#
o 8undamental studies such as neutrino properties double beta decay!
(edical applications
o Cancer therapy using radiation
o $istoric use to kill cells - e.g. radium
o (odern use with ion beams e.g. 5%I!
(edical imaging
o ('I <uclear magnetic imaging!
o *ositron 3mission Tomography
o @-ray imaging etc
The environment
o Carbon dating 6?CA6BC ratio
o "rgon gas dating
o 'bA%r dating of rocks
o "rchaeology dating by isotope ratios!
o ,se of radioactivity to trace fluids in organs
o 8orensic
%ecurity and industry
o =il well logging
o &etection of bomb material etc
%tudy of atomic nucleus is the basis to harness the tremendous amount of energy
locked by nature inside the nucleus and to use radiations emitted by the atomic
nucleus. Concepts studied in "tomic physics module are e)tended to the nucleus
of an atom in this module.
This module aims to
study the general properties of nuclei#
e)amine the characteristics of the nuclear force#
introduce the principal models of the nucleus#
discuss the spontaneous decay of nuclei including those far from the region
of stability#
study nuclear reactions# in particular fission and fusion
introduce detectors
discuss the practical applications of nuclear physics
develop problem solving skills in the above areas
8urther the energy level concepts and emission spectrum concepts of atomic
physics are also used to e)plain some observables in the atomic nucleus. "s most
of the information available about the atomic nucleus is obtained from its emission
spectrum and the interaction of the radiation with matter# it is essential to study the
atomic nucleus starting from its properties.
This module <uclear *hysics! introduces the basic properties of the atomic
nucleus nuclear constituentsC the binding energyC isotopesC and nuclear models
are concepts dealt in the first activity.
(ost atoms found in nature are stable and do not emit particles or energy that
change form over time. $eavy elements# such as uranium or thorium# and their
decay chain elements do not have stable nuclei. They emit radiation in their
naturally occurring state. The second activity of the module dwells on radioactivity
and related applications.
The third activity is on the interaction of nuclear radiation. The study of interaction
of radiation with matter is the basis for radiation detection and measurement. (ost
applications of radiation require the knowledge of interaction of radiation with
=ne needs to know elementary particles and their interaction to gain a more
unified understanding of nuclear forces and to achieve greater predictive power.
"ctivity four is a survey of elementary particles and theories that e)plain nuclear
interaction in terms of elementary particles.
0 Basic Pr)+er,ies ). ,he A,)*ic Nucleus %12 h)urs&
;asic *ropertiesof the atomic nucleus# <uclear constituents# Iosotopes#
<uclear ;inding 3nergy.
<uclear %tability#
(ass and Isotopic "bundanceC
<uclear (odels.
3 Ra-i)ac,i4i,y %15 h)urs&
'adioactivity# discovery# alpha# bet and gamma radiation# 9aws of 'adioactive
<atural 'adioactivity %eries and non %eries!# radioactive equilibrium#
"pplications of 'adioactivity.
1 I6,erac,i)6 ). Ra-ia,i)6 Wi,h !a,,er %15 h)urs&
Interaction of heavy and light Charged *articles with matter#
Interaction of photons with matter#
Interaction cross-sections and interaction coefficients.
<uclear 'adiation &etectors.
7 Nuclear F)rces a6- Ele*e6,ary Par,icles %32 h)urs&
8undamental Interaction in nature.
%urvey of elementary particles.
4ukawa>s theory of nuclear forces.
A. Basic Properties
o the Ato!ic N"c#e"s
B. Ra$ioacti%ity
C. &'teractio' o Ra$iatio'
)ith *atter
+. N"c#ear ,orces a'$
E#e!e'tary Partic#es
Basic properties o theato!ic '"c#e"s.
N"c#ear co'stit"e'ts. &sotopes-
N"c#ear .i'$i'/e'er/y-
N"c#ear sta.i#ity-
*ass a'$isotopic a."'$a'ce-
N"c#ear !o$e#s
Ra$ioacti%ity. &ts $isco%ery- a#pha-
La0s o ra$ioacti%e$isi'te/ratio'.
Nat"ra# ra$ioacti%ity 1series a'$ 'o'series2
App#icatio's o ra$ioacti%ity.
&'teractio'o hea%y a'$#i/ht
char/e$partic#es 0ith!atter.
&'teractio'o photo's 0ith!atter.
N"c#ear ra$iatio'$etectors.
,"'$a!e'ta# i'teractio's i' 'at"re.
6"7a0a8s theory o '"c#ear orce.
9"r%eyo e#e!e'tary partic#es.
"fter completing the module you should be able to
,nderstand the basic properties of nuclei and the atomic nucleus
&escribe radioactivity and related phenomena
3)plain the various interactions of nuclear radiation with matter
,nderstand nuclear interactions and elementary particles involved in the
"III( S+eci.ic Lear6i68 O9:ec,i4es
%I6s,ruc,i)6al O9:ec,i4es&
Lear6i68 )9:ec,i4es
A.,er C)*+le,i68 ,his sec,i)6 y)u
sh)ul- 9e a9le ,)#
1. Basic Pr)+er,ies ). ,he A,)*ic
Nucleus %12 h)urs&
;asic *ropertiesof the atomic nucleus#
<uclear constituents# Iosotopes#
<uclear ;inding 3nergy.
<uclear %tability#
(ass and Isotopic "bundanceC
<uclear (odels.
Identify constituents of the atomic
nucleus and their collective properties.
&escribe mass defect
'elate neutron: proton ratio to stability
&escribe the shell and liquid drop
models of the nucleus
2. Ra-i)ac,i4i,y# %15 h)urs&
'adioactivity# discovery# alpha# bet and
gamma radiation# 9aws of 'adioactive
<atural 'adioactivity %eries and non
%eries!# radioactive equilibrium#
"pplications of 'adioactivity.
&escribe radiations from the nucleus
,se radioactivity disintegration laws to
solve problems
Identify and decide the type of
equilibrium for a given series decay
"pply the radioactivity law half life! in
carbon dating
3. I6,erac,i)6 ). Ra-ia,i)6 Wi,h
!a,,er# %15 h)urs&
Interaction of heavy and light Charged
*articles with matter#
Interaction of photons with matter#
Interaction cross-sections and
interaction coefficients.
<uclear 'adiation &etectors.
&escribe interaction of light charged
particles and heavy charged particles
with matter
Identify and describe the four major
interactions of photons with matter
,se cross sections and coefficients of
interaction to solve problems
&escribe gas filled# scintillation and
semiconductor detectors construction#
principle and use!
4. Nuclear F)rces a6- Ele*e6,ary
Par,icles# %32 h)urs&
8undamental Interaction in nature.
%urvey of elementary particles
4ukawa>s theory of nuclear forces.
Identify fundamental interactions in
Identify elementary particles and
describe their role in the process of
3)plain 4ukawa>s theory of nuclear force
I;( PRE-ASSESS!ENT# Are y)u rea-y .)r Nuclear
Dear Lear6er#
In this section# you will find self-evaluation questions that will help you test your
preparedness to complete this module. 4ou should judge yourself sincerely and do
the recommended action after completion of the self-test. .e encourage you to
take time and answer the questions.
Dear I6s,ruc,)r#
The *re-assessment questions placed here guide learners to decide whether they
are prepared to take the content presented in this module. It is strongly suggested
to abide by the recommendations made on the basis of the mark obtained by the
learner. "s their instructor you should encourage learners to evaluate themselves
by answering all the questions provided below. 3ducation research shows that this
will help learners be more prepared and help them articulate previous knowledge.
$.1 %EL& E'LUTION %%O"ITED (IT! NU"LER P!)%I"%
3valuate your preparedness to take the module on thermal physics. If you score
greater than or equal to D7 out of E:# you are ready to use this module. If you
score something between B7 and D7 you may need to revise your school physics
on topics of heat. " score less than B7 out of E: indicates you need to physics.
Try the following questions and evaluate whether you have the necessary
background to take on topics related to <uclear *hysics.
1 .hich statement best describes the structure of an atom/
(a) " positive core surrounded by electrons packed tightly around it.
(b) " particle comprised of a mi)ture of protons# electrons and neutrons.
(c) " tiny nucleus of protons and neutrons with electrons orbiting around it.
(d) " large core of protons and electrons surrounded by neutrons.
2 =f the following# when an atom emits an alpha particle its mass number is
(a) decreased by B and its atomic number is increased by ?
(b) increased by B and its atomic number is decreased by ?
(c) increased by B and its atomic number is increased by ?
(d) decreased by B and its atomic number is decreased by ?
3 "n electron moves with a speed equal to BA: that of light# .hich one of the
following is the ratio the electron>s mass to its rest mass.
(a) :AB
(b) :AF
(c) ?:AG
(d) ?:A6D
4 =f the following the one which can penetrate through ?7cm thick steel plate is
(a) positive rays (b)



5 The half life period of radioactive nuclide is F hours# its activity will be reduced
by a factor of
6 .hich of the following radioactive decay emits

214 214
82 93
... pb Bi +
234 234
91 91
... Th pa +
238 234
92 90
... U Th +
234 234
91 92
... pa U +
7 " simple contains 6Dg of radioactive material# the half life of which is ? days.
"fter F? days the amount of radioactive material left in the sample is
(a) 6g
(b) 7.:g
(c) 7.?:g
(d) H6 mg
8 " nuclide " with mass number m and atomic number n! disintegrates emitting

-particle. The resulting nuclide ; has mass number and atomic number
respectively equal to
(a) m-2 and n
(b) m-4 and n-2
(c) m-4 and n-1
(d) m+4 and n+1
9 "s a result of radioactive decay a
U nucleus is changed to
Pa nucleus.
&uring this decay the particles emitted are
(a) two

-particles and one proton

(b) two

-particles and one neutron

(c) one

-particle and one

(d) one proton and two neutrons
10 The relation between half life
1/ 2
of a radioactive sample and its mean life

1/ 2
1/ 2
1/ 2
1/ 2
0.693 T
11 The decay constant of a radioactive sample
(a) is independent of the age
(b) depends on the nature of activity
(c) increases as the age of atoms increases
(d) decreases as the age of atoms increases
12 =f the three isotopes of hydrogen
1 2 3
1 1 1
, and H H H
(a) two are stable
(b) all are stable
H decays to#
H decays to
13 " certain radioactive substance has a half-life of : years. Thus for a nucleus in
a sample of the element# probability of decay in 67 years is
(a) 100% (b) 75% (c) 60% (d) 50%
14 " gamma ray photon creates an electron positron pair. If the rest mass of
electron is 0.5 MeV and the total kinetic energy of the electron positron pair is
0.78 MeV# the energy of gamma ray photon must be
(a) 0.28
(b) 1.28
(c) 1.78
(d) 0.78
15 If the mass of proton is completely converted into energy# it will be about
(a) 93.1MeV (b) 931 MeV (c) 10078
(d) 9310 MeV
16 "
meson at rest decays into two gamma rays
+ then which of the
following is correct
(a) the two

>s move in the directions opposite to each other

(b) the two

>s have unequal energies

(c) both the

>s move in the same direction

(d) the

>s will be periodically approaching and receding from each other

17 If the half life of a radioactive metal is ? years
(a) The metal will completely disintegrate in ? years
(b) 6AB
of it will remain after I years
(c) the metal will completely disintegrated in to B years
(d) it will never disintegrate completely
18 .hen aluminium is bombarded with

-particles# radioactive phosphorus is

formed i.e.
27 4 30
13 2 15
Al He P + one more particle formed in this reaction is
(a) an electron
(b) a neutron
(c) negatively charged helium atom
(d) a negatively charged hydrogen atom
19 If
B is bombarded with neutrons and

-particle is emitted. The residual

nucleus is
n (b)
D (c)
H (d)
20 .hat is @ in the following relation
7 1 4
13 1 2
Li H He X + +
H (b)
D (c)
D (d)
21 If
, and
-rays have ionising powers

, and I I I

respectively then

, >I I I

(b) .

, <I I I


=I I I

(d) none of these

22 .hich of the following is a correct statement

-radioactivity is the process in which an electron is emitted from an
unstable atom whose atomic number J remains unchanged

-radioactivity is the process in which the daughter nucleus has atomic
number 6 unit more than that of the parent nucleus

-radioactivity is the process in which an unstable atom emits the nucleus
of a helium atom

-radioactivity is the process in which a heavy atom emits
electromagnetic radiations of very high frequency
23 The counting rate observed from a radioactive source at t=0s was 1600
counts per second and at t=8s it was 677 counts per second. The counting rate
observed as counts per second at t=6 seconds will be
(a) 400 (b) 300 (c) 200 (d) 150
24 Consider a radioactive material of half life 6.7 minute. If one of the nuclei
decays now# the ne)t one will decay
(a) after 6 minute
(b) after 6A
? minutes
(c) after 6.< minute# where < is the number of nuclei present at that moment
(d) after any time
25 .hat is the binding energy of
C / 5iven mass of proton K 6.777EI a.m.u.
mass of neutron = 1.0087 a.m.u. =931 MeV)
(a) 9.2 MeV
(b) 92 MeV
(c) 920 MeV
(d) 0.92 Mev
26 The binding energy per nucleus were to split into two eequal si2e nuclei# about
how much energy would be released in the process.
(a) 238MeV
(b) 23.8MeV
(c) 2.38MeV
(d) 119MeV
27 (ost suitable element for nuclear fission is the element with atomic number
(a) G? (b) :? (c) ?6 (d) 66
28 In order to carryout the nuclear reaction
1 1 2 4 0
1 1 1 1
1 energy H H H He e + + + +
(a) +ery high temperature and low pressure would be necessary
(b) +ary high temperature and relatively high pressure would be necessary
(c) (oderates temperature and very high pressure will be necessary
(d) +ery high temperature will only be necessary
29 .hen a microgram of matter is converted to energy# the amount of energy
released will be
3 10 L
9 10 L
9 10 L
9 10 L
30 " radioactive nucleus undergoes a series of decay according to the scheme.
1 2 3 4

If the mass number and atomic number of
" are 6I7 and E? respectively# what are these numbers for
(a) 6E?#DG (b) 6E7#DG (c) 6EB#E6 (d) 6I7#E7
31 The material used for absorbing the e)tra neutrons in a nuclear reactor is
(a) 2inc (b) uranium (c) radium (d) cadmiu
32 Thermal neutrons have energy around
(a) 677e+
(b) 67e+
(c) 6e+
238 206
92 82
U pb
33 =n an average how many neutrons are released per fission
(a) ? (b) 6 (c) F (d) ?.:
34 (oderators are used in the nuclear reactors to
(a) accelerate the neutrons
(b) slow down the neutrons
(c) to slow down neutrons
(d) produce neutrons
35 Cadmium rods are used in a nuclear reactor to
(a) generate neutrons
(b) absorb neutrons
(c) slow down neutrons
(d) produce neutorns
36 $ow many radioactive disintegrations per second are defined as ;ecquerel
3.7 10
(c) 6
(d) none of the above
37 In the nuclear reactor at Trombay which of the following is used as moderator
(a) ordinary water
(b) cadmium
(c) copper
(d) heavy water
38 .hich of the following particles is used to cause fission in an atomic reactor/
(a) proton


(d) neutron
39 .hich of the following is the best nuclear fuel/
(a) <eptunium ?GF
(b) plutonium ?FG
(c) ,ranium ?FD
(d) Thorium ?FD
40 The moderator in a reactor
(a) absorbs thermal energy
(b) slows down neutron
(c) accelerate neutron
(d) absorbs neutrons
41 8or an atomic reactor being critical the ratio of the average number of
neutrons produced and used in chain reaction
(a) depends on the mass of fissionable material
(b) is greater than one
(c) is equal to one
(d) is less than one
42 "n element " decays into element C by a two step process
, 2 A B He B C e

+ + . Then
(a) and ! are isobars
(b) and " are isotopes
(c) and ! are isotopes
(d) and " are isobars
43 " radioactive sample with a half-life of 6 month has the label: MM"ctivity K?
microcuries on 6.I.6GG6>>. .hat was its activity two moths later in microcuries/
(a) 6.7
(b) 7.:
(c) B
(d) I
44 Isotopes are atoms having
(a) %ame number of protons but different number of neutrons
(b) %ame number of protons but different number of protons
(c) %ame number of protons and neutrons
(d) <one of the above
45 .hich one of the following nuclear reactions is a source of energy in the sun/
9 4 12 1
4 2 6 0
Be He C n

+ +
238 206
92 82
U pb
144 92 235 1
56 56 92 0
Ba Kr U n

+ +
56 112 167 1
26 48 74 0
Fe Ca W n + +
46 Transuranium elements are those whose atomic number is
(a) always more then G?
(b) less than G?
(c) always more than 67F
(d) none of the above
47 'adio isotopes are used as tracers in many problems on account of the fact that
(a) Their chemical properties are different
(b) They can be detected accurately in small quantities
(c) They can not be distinguished from normal atoms easily
(d) They can not be distinguished from normal atoms easily
48 The element not occurring in nature is
49 .hich of the following statements are true regarding radioactivity/
(a) "ll radioactive elements decay e)ponentially with time
(b) $alf life time of a radioactive element is time required for one half of the radioactive
atoms to disintegrate
(c) "ge of earth can be determined with the help of radioactive dating
(d) $alf life time of a radioactive element is fifty percent of its average life period
50 $eavy water is used as moderator in a nuclear reactor. The function of the moderator
(a) to control the energy released in the reactor
(b) to absorb neutrons and stop chain reaction
(c) to cool the reactor
(d) to slow down the neutrons to thermal energies
$.2 N%(ER *E)+
6. C
?. &
F. ;
B. &
:. "
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E. &
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G. C
67. &
66. "
6?. &
6F. ;
6B. C
6:. ;
6D. "
6E. &
6I. ;
6G. &
?7. &
?6. "
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?F. C
?B. &
?:. ;
?D. "
?E. "
?I. "
?G. ;
F7. "
F6. &
F?. "
FF. &
FB. ;
F:. ;
FE. &
FI. &
FG. ;
B7. C
B6. C
B?. ;
BF. "
BB. "
B:. ;
BD. "
BE. ;
BI. "
:7. &
<uclear physics can be seen# historically# as the child of chemistry and atomic
physics and in turn as the parent of particle physics and one of the parents of
medical physics.
.hen hearing the word >nuclear> most people will think of two things: nuclear
bombs and nuclear reactors. ;oth are not e)actly popular these days. Thanks to
bombs and reactors nuclear physics was probably the part of science with the
biggest impact on politics in the ?7th century. Lust think of the entire cold war. The
(anhattan project was probably the most high-profile science project of the ?7th
century# with a large number of future <obel-pri2e winners involved. In cultural
relevance it is possibly rivalled by the moon-landing -another technological spin-off
of II# and in every-day-relevance by electronics.
In this module basic concepts of nuclear physics with emphasis on nuclear
structure and radiation interactions with matter. <uclear forcesC shell structure of
the nucleusC alpha# beta# and gamma radioactive decaysC interactions of nuclear
radiations charged particles# gammas# and neutrons! with matterC nuclear
reactionsC fission and fusion.
The module is divided into four activities. 3ach activity has e)amples and reading
assignments. 4ou are required to to complete all the learning activities and
complet the compulsory material. The compulsory material is an e)tensive lecture
notes and study guide with e)cercises. These lecture notes are developed by the
author of this module from ?77B to ?77E in the ,niversity of "ddis "baba# 3thiopia.
'esearch in recent years has shown that the students who do best in physics
and other subjects! are those who involve themselves actively in the learning
process. This involvement can take many forms: writing lots of questions in the
margins of the moduleC asking questions by emailC discussing physics in the "+,
discussion forums etc. %o you are strongly advised to e)haust all possiblities given
to you by the "+,.
A Fi6al W)r-
*hysics# in general# is not so much a collection of facts as a way of looking at the
world. The author of this module hopes that your first course in nuclear physics will
be a big plus to your appreciation of nature and will contribute to improve your
skills in careful thinking# problem solving# and precise communication. In this
course you will gain lots of e)perience with qualitative e)planations# rough
numerical estimates# and careful quantitative problem solving. .hen you
understand a phenomenon on all of these levels# and can describe it clearly to
others# you are Nthinking like a physicistN as we like to say!. 3ven if you eventually
forget every fact learned in this course# these skills will serve you well for the rest
of your life.
"TI'IT) 1+ .asi/ Pr0per1ies 0f 1he 102i/
4ou will require B7 hours to complete this activity. In this activity you are guided
with a series of readings# (ultimedia clips# worked e)amples and self assessment
questions and problems. 4ou are strongly advised to go through the activities and
consult all the compulsory materials and as many as possible among useful links
and references.
S+eci.ic Teachi68 a6- Lear6i68 O9:ec,i4es
Identify constituents of the atomic nucleus and their collective properties.
&escribe mass defect
'elate neutron: proton ratio to stability
&escribe the shell and liquid drop models of the nucleus
Su**ary ). ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y
The atomic nucleus is now known to be composed of protons and neutrons known
as nucleon. The number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus is its mass
number ( ) A
and the number of protons is its atomic number ( ) Z
. " nucleus# of
chemical symbol is uniquely designated by:

The atomic nuclei has some properties of interest:

Nuclear Si=e# In general atomic nuclei have spherical shape with radius
roughly given by:
!"ere # =1.2 0.2$% R R A t
Char8e# - The elelctric charge distribution within the nucleus is the same as
thenuclear mass distribution 3)perimental results suggest that the Oelelctrical
radius of the nucleus> and Onuclear matter radius> are nearly the same.
Nuclear S+i6# 8or each nucleon orbital angular momentum l .. and spin
combine to the total angular momentum
The total angular momentum of a
nucleus I is therefore the vector sum of the angular momenta of the
'=l)& I= ' odd*A+ "al$*(n,eger I, e-en*A+ (n,eger I

A68ular *)*e6,u*: The angular momentum I has all of the usual

properties of quantum mechanical angular momentum vectors:
2 2
. 1/
=* , * 1, ,
I m m I I L I
The total angular momentum I is usually referred to as nuclear spin and the
corresponding spin quantum number I is used to describe nuclear states.
<uclear stability is related to the number of nucleons constituting the nucleus.
%table nuclei only occur in a very narrow band in the J-< plane. "ll other nuclei
are unstable and decay spontaneously in various ways.
There are three models of the atomic nucleus. the liquid drop model# the 8ermi-
gas model and the shell model. 3ach model e)plain certain observations of
nuclear property. <o single model e)plain all observations.
Lis, ). Re>uire- Rea-i68s
Copyright free readings should also be given in electronic form to be provided on a C& with the module!
Reading 1: CHAPTER ONE.
Complete reference: PHYSICS 481 Lecture Notes and Study Guide
From &epartment of *hysics "ddis "baba ,niversity# by Tilahun
Tesfaye*h&! .
Abstract: This Reading is structured in terms early atomic hyothesis!
roerties o" the nucleus! theories o" nuclear comosition! #inding
energy! nuclear "orce and nuclear structure models$ %ach section is
ended &ith a set o" 'uestions and ro#lems$
This chater tallies &ell &ith the (rst acti)ity o" this module$
Lis, ). Rele4a6, !! Res)urces %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
%oftware# Interactive online e)ercises +ideos# animations etc
Res0ur/e 31
Ti1le+ The Ru,her.)r- E?+eri*e6,
URL+ h11p+442i/r0.2a5ne1.fsu.edu4ele/1r02a546a7a4ru1herf0rd4
Da1e "0nsul1ed+ "ugust ?77E
Des/rip1i0n: This classic diffraction e)periment was conducted in 6G66 by $ans
5eiger and 3rnest (arsden at the suggestion of 3rnest 'utherford. &etails
about the e)periment and how to operate the tutorial are provided beneath
the applet window..
Lis, ). Rele4a6, Use.ul Li6@s %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
9ist of links# providing an alternative perspective on the curriculum material# each with Nscreen captureN
Useful Lin8 31 ."9s 0f Nu/lear %/ien/e
Ti1le+ Nu/lear %1ru/1ure
URL+ h11p+44:::.lbl.5074ab/4.asi/.h12l
%/reen "ap1ure+
Des/rip1i0n+ #$%&cs '&(e )uc'ea* +t*uctu*e, -ad&$act&v&t., '%/a 0eca., "eta 0eca.,
1amma 0eca., 2a'3-4&3e, -eact&$ns, 5us&$n, 5&ss&$n, !$sm&c -a.s and nt&matte*
a*e d&scussed &n t/&s s&te. 5u*t/e* t/e*e a*e '&n(s t$ $t/e* s$u*ces 3$* 3u*t/e*
Ra1i0nale+ #/&s s&te /as c$m%*e/ens&ve c$ve*a6e $3 m$st $3 t/e nuc'ea* %/.s&cs t$%&cs
dea't &n t/&s m$du'e. #/e 'ea*ne* can c$nsu't t/e '&n(s t$ see $t/e* 'ectu*es..
Da1e "0nsul1ed+ Lanuary ?77I
De,aile- Descri+,i)6 ). ,he Ac,i4i,y %!ai6 The)re,ical Ele*e6,s&
In "tomic *hysics (odule# you have learnt the e)periments that led to the
formulation of the theory by which the nuclear atom was accepted. In this module
we shall dwell on the structure of the atomic nucleus and e)amine some of the
nuclear radiations and their interactions with matter.
"ll matter is composed of atoms. The atom is the smallest amount of matter that
retains the chemical properties of an element. The 3nglish chemist Lohn &alton# in
6I7F#. stated that each chemical element possesses a particular kind of atom# and
any quantity of the element is made up of identical atoms of this kind. .hat
distinguishes one element from another element is the kind of atom of which it
consists# and the basic physical difference between kinds of atoms is their weight.
8or almost 677 years after &alton established the atomic nature of atoms#. all the
results of chemical e)periments# indicated that the atom was indivisible.
3ventually# e)perimentation into electricity and radioactivity indicated that particles
of matter smaller than the atom did indeed e)ist. but these smaller particles no
longer have the same properties as the overall element.
In 6G7D# L. L. Thompson won the <obel *ri2e in physics for establishing the
e)istence of electrons. %oon after the discovery of electrons# protons were
discovered. *rotons are relatively large particles and a positive charge equal in
magnitude but opposite in sign! to that of the electron. The third subatomic
particle to be discovered# the neutron# was not found until 6GF?. The neutron has
almost the same mass as the proton# but it is electrically neutral.
It is now well known that an atom
1.1+ .asi/ Pr0per1ies 0f 1he 102i/ nu/leus,
Charge and Mass of the Nucleus
The most important characteristics of a nucleus are its charge Z and its mass 0.
The charge on the atomic nucleus is determined by the number of positive
charges it contains. The carrier of an elementary charge#
1.6021 10 e C

# on
the nucleus is proton. %ince an atom as a whole is electrically neutral# the nuclear
charge simultaneously determines the number of electrons around the nucleus. In
other words# chemical elements are identified by their nuclear charge or# by their
at$m&c numbe*s.
The mass of an atomic nucleus is practically the same as that of the entire atom
because the mass of the electrons in an atom is negligible. The mass of an
electron is
6A6IFD that of a proton. It is customary to measure the mass of an
atom in atomic mass units# abbreviated amu. The atomic mass unit is equal to
one-twelfth of the mass of the neutral
1 atom.
12 1.6603 10 3g

Spin And Magnetic Moment of The Nucleus:
In atomic physics module you have seen that the spin of an electron results in the
fine structure of atomic spectrum. 8or atoms having one valence electron the
relative orientation of the orbital and spin moments of the electron leads to the
splitting of all energy levels e)cept the s-level! and as a result# to the splitting of
spectral lines. .ith further improvement of spectroscopic instruments#
investigators were able to investigate such lines. It was found that each of the two
&-lines of sodium was in turn a doublet# that is # consisting of two very closely
spaced spectral lines.
8ig. &-lines of <a
*auli suggested that the hyperfine structure might be due to an occurrence of
angular momentum in the atomic nucleus. The t$ta' an6u'a* m$mentum, or
nuc'ea* s%&n# along with nuclear charge and nuclear mass# is the most important
characteristic of the nucleus.
The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons each of which has spin
2 h
. The
nuclear spin is the vector sum of the spin angular momenta of all the component
particles. " ucleus made up of an even number of nucleons has integral spin in
units of h! or 2ero spin. In addition to nuclear spin# the nucleus has a magnetic
moment. Thus# all atomic particles the nucleus and electrons! have a magnetic
The magnetic moment of a nucleus is determined by those of its component
particles. ;y analogy with the ;ohr magneton# the magnetic moments of nuclei are
e)pressed in terms of the so-called nuc'ea* ma6net$n defined as
is the nuclear gyromagnetic ratio.
Nuclear constituents:
The nuclear model of the atom brought more questions than it answered when it
was forwarded. .hat is the composition of the nucleus/ $ow can a nuclear atom
become stable/ "nswers to these questions could only be given after the
discovery of various properties of the nucleus# notably nuclear charge J# nuclear
mass# and nuclear spin.
The nuclear charge was found to be defined by the sum of the positive charges it
contains. %ince an elementary positive charge is associated with the proton# the
presence of protons in the nucleus appeared to be beyond any doubt from the
outset Two more facts were also established# namely:
a. The masses of the isotopes e)cept ordinary hydrogen!# e)pressed in
proton mass units# were found to be numerically greater than their nuclear
charges e)pressed in elementary charge units# this difference growing with
increases in Z . 8or the elements in the middle of the periodic Table the
isotopic masses in amu! are about twice as great as the nuclear charge.
The ratio is still greater for the heavier nuclei. $ence one was forced to
think that the protons were not the only particles that make up the nucleus.
b. The masses of the isotopic nuclei of all chemical elements suggested two
possibilities# either the particles making up the nucleus had about the same
mass# or the nucleus contained particles differing in mass to a point where
the mass of some was negligible in comparison with that of the others# theta
is# their mass did not contribute to the isotopic mass to any considerable
The latter possibility appeared especially attractive because it fitted nicely with the
proton-electron model of the nucleus. That the nucleus might contain electrons
seemed to follow from the fact that natural beta-decay is accompanied by the
emission of electrons. The proton-electron model also e)plained the fact why the
isotopic atomic weights were nearly integers. "ccording to this model# the mass of
the nucleolus should be partially equal to the masses of the protons that make it
up# because the electronic mass is about 6A?777
that of the proton. The number
of electrons in the nucleus must be such that the total charge due to the positive
protons and the negative electrons is the true positive charge of the nucleus.
8or all its simplicity and logic# the proton-electron model was refuted by advances
in nuclear physics. In fact# it ran counter to the most important properties of the
If the nucleus contained electrons# the nuclear magnetic moment would be of the
same order of magnitude as the electronic ;ohr magneton <otice that the nuclear
magnetic moment is defined by the nuclear magneton which is about 6A?777
electronic magneton.
&ata on nuclear spin also witnessed against the proton-electron model. 8or
e)ample# according to this model the beryllium nucleus#
6e # would contain nine
protons and five electrons so that the total charge would be equal to four
elementary positive charges. The proton and the electron have each a half-integral
spin# hA?. The total spin of the nucleus made up of 6B particles nine protons and
five electrons! would have to be integral. "ctually# the beryllium nucleus#
6e # has
half-integral spin of magnitude FhA?. (any more e)amples might be cited.
9ast but not least# the proton-electron model conflicted with the $eisenberg
uncertainty principle. If the nucleus contained electrons# then the uncertainty in the
electron position#
, x
would be comparable with the linear dimensions of the
nucleus# that is#


m. 9et us choose the greater value#

10 x

the $eisenberg uncertainty relation for the electron momentum we have
*14 *19
7P>>"/78>>10 =10 3g %/&
The momentum * is directly related to its uncertainty# that is + P P P =nce the
momentum of the electro is known# one can readily find its energy. %ince in the
above e)ample
30 8
P>>% 9 10 3g 3 10 %/&

# one should use the relativistic

relation for energy and momentum
2 2 2 2 4
: =9 4 )% 9
Then we get
2 2 8 38 30 8 2
3 10 10 .10 3 10 /
2 10 200
E c p m c
eV eV

+ +

This figure is greatly in e)cess of that E-I(e+!found for the total binding energy
by e)periment and is many times the energy of electrons emitted in beta-decay. If#
on the other hand# the electrons in the nucleus were assumed to have the energy
comparable with that associated with the particles emitted in beta-decay usually a
few (e+!# then the region where the electrons must be locali2ed# that is# the si2e
of the nucleus as found from the uncertainty relations would be much greater than
that found by observation.
" way out was found when in 6GF? Chadwick discovered a new fundamental
particle. 8rom an analysis of the paths followed by the particles produced in some
nuclear reactions and applying the law of conservation of energy and momentum#
Chadwick concluded that these paths could only be followed by a particle with a
mass slightly greater than that of the proton and with a charge of 2ero.
"ccordingly# the new particle was called the neut*$n.
"ccording to the present views# a nucleus consists of nucleons: protons and
neutrons. "s the mass of a nucleon is about ?777 times the mass of an electron
the nucleus carries practically all the mass of an atom
" nuclid is a specific combination of a number of protons and neutrons. The
complete symbol for a nuclide is written as:

where is the chemical symbol of the element# Z is the at$m&c numbe*# giving
the number of protons in the nucleus. A is the totla number of nucleons in the
nuclues. It is also known as the mass numbe*. 5 A Z is the number of
In nucleus physics it is said that the proton and the neutron are two charge states
of the same particle# the nuc'e$n. The proton is the protonic state of the nucleon
with a charge Pe# and the neutron is its neutronic state with 2ero charge. "ccording
to the latest data# the rest mass of a proton and of a neutron respectively is
4 e
n e
% =1.0075975;0.000001 a%2=.1836.09;0.01/%
% =1.008982;0.000003 a%2=.1838.63;0.01/%
The proton and the neutron have the same mass number equal to unity. In the
nucleus# the nucleons are in states substantially differing from their free states.
This is because in all nuclei# e)cept that of ordinary hydrogen# there are at least
two nucleons between which a special nuclear interaction or coupling e)ists.
The proton-neutron model of the nucleus accounts for both the observed values of
isotopic masses and# the magnetic moments of the nuclei. 8or# since the magnetic
moments of the proton and the neutron are of the same order of magnitude as the
nuclear magneton# it follows that a nucleus built up of nucleons should have a
magnetic moment of the same order as the nuclear magneton. Therefore# with
protons and neutrons as the building blocks of nuclei# the magnetic moment
should be of the same order of magnitude. =bservations have confirmed this.
10 % 6 fm femto meter K fermi! K

is the typical length scale of nuclear physics.

"lso with protons and neutrons as the constituents of nuclei# the uncertainty
principle leads to reasonable value of energy for these particles in a nucleus# in full
agreement with the observed energies per particle
8inally# with the assumption that nuclei are composed of neutrons and protons# the
difficulty arising from nuclear spin has likewise been resolved. 8or if a nucleus
contains an even number of nucleons# it has integral spin in units of h!. .ith an
odd number of nucleons# its spin will be half-integral in units of h!.
1.2+ Nu/lear .indin5 Ener5y
"tomic nuclei containing positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons make
up stable systems despite the fact that the protons e)perience Coulomb repulsion.
The stability of nuclei is an indication that there must be some kind of binding force
between the nucleons. The binding force can be investigated on the energy basis
alone# without invoking any considerations concerning the nature and properties of
nuclear forces.
"n idea about the strength of a system can be gleaned from the effort required to
break it up i.e. to do work against the binding. This approach leads to several
important facts about the forces that hold the nucleons in a nucleus.
The energy required to remove any nucleon from the nucleus is called the binding
or separation! energy of that nucleon in the nucleus. It is equal to the work that
must be done in order to remove the nucleon from the nucleus without imparting it
any kinetic energy. The total binding energy of a nucleus is defined as the amount
of work that must be done in order to break up the nucleus into its constituent
nucleons. 8rom the law of conservation of energy it follows that in forming a
nucleus# the same amount of energy must be released as is put in to break it up.
The magnitude of the binding energy of nuclei may be estimated from the following
considerations. The rest mass of any permanently stable nucleus has been found
to be less than the sum of the rest masses of the nucleons that it contains. It
appears as if in -packing up>> to form a nucleus the protons and neutrons lose
some of their masses.
"n e)planation of this phenomenon is given by the special theory of relativity. This
fact is accounted for by the conversion of part of the mass energy of the particles
into binding energy. The rest energy of a body#
# is related to its rest mass
0 0
: =% 9
is the velocity of light in a vacuum. &esignating the energy given upon the
formation of a nucleus as
# then the mass equivalent of the total binding
0 <
7% =7: /9
is the decrease in the rest mass as the nucleons combine to make up the nucleus.
The quantity
is also known as mass de3ect or mass dec*eament. If a nucleus
of mass ( is composed of a number J of protons with a mass
and of a number
"-J of neutrons with a mass
# the quantity
is given by
o 4 n
7 % =Z% ).A*Z/% *0
The quantity
gives a measure of the binding energy:#
2 2
< 0 4 n
7: =7% 9 ==Z% ).A*Z/% *0>9
In nuclear physics# energies are e)pressed in atomic energy units aeu!
corresponding to atomic mass units:
( )
2 16 2 2
1ae2 = 9 1a%2 = 9 10 % /& 1.6603g
= 1.491 10 ?

Thus# in order to find the binding energy in (e+# one should use the equation
< 4 n
7: ==Z% ).A*Z/% *0> 931.10e@
.here the masses of the nucleons and the mass of the nucleus are e)pressed in
atomic mass units. =n the average# the binding energy per nucleon is about I(e+#
which is a fairly large amount.
8ig: " plot of the binding energy per nucleon as a function of mass number "
"s is seen from the plot# the strength of binding varies with the mass number of
the nuclei. The binding is at its strongest in the middle of the periodic Table# in the
range ?IH"H6FI# that is# from
28 138
14 56
A( ,o 6a. In these nuclei# the binding energy is
very close to I.E (e+. .ith further increases in the number of nucleons in the
nucleus# the binding energy per nucleon decreases. 8or the nuclei at the end of
the periodic Table for e)ample# uranium!#
is about E.D (e+.
In the region of small mass numbers# the binding energy per nucleon shows
characteristic ma)imua and minima. (inima in the binding energy per nucleon are
shown by nuclei containing an odd number of protons and neutrons# such as
6 10 14
3 5 7
C(, 6 and 5
(a)ima in the binding energy per nucleon are associated with nuclei having an
even number of protons and neutrons# such as
4 12 16
2 6 8
De, 1 and E.
The general course of the curve gives a clue to the mechanisms by which nuclear
energy is released. .e find that nuclear energy can be released either by the
fission of heavy nuclei and the fusion of light nuclei from still lighter ones. It is
clear from general considerations that energy will be released in nuclear reactions
for which the binding energy per nucleon in the end products e)ceeds the binding
energy per nucleon in the original nuclei.
Mass )umbe* ()
1.,. Nu/lear %1abili1y
<ot all nuclei are stable. ,nstable nuclei undergo radioactive decay into different
nuclei. %table nuclei have appro)imately equal numbers of neutrons and protons
! Z for small 20 A < and a small e)cess of neutrons for large A as shown in
the diagram.
The *auli e)clusion principle helps to understand the fact that nuclei with equal 5
and Z are stable. Imagine filling a 6-deminsional bo) with protons and neutrons.
.e want the minimum energy configuration for a given value of A # say :. %ince
both neutrons and protons have spin Q they are fermions like electrons! and so
obey the *auli e)clusion principle. This principle restricts the number of protons
and neutrons to ? of each at each energy level. 'ecall that the energy of the nth
energy in a 6-dimensional bo) is given by
n 1
: n E # where
is the energy of the
round level.
If all : nucleons were neutrons# the total energy of the nucleus would be
( ) ( )
1 1
9 2 4 2 1 19 E E + + 1
as shown in diagram A. In contrast# if F were
neutrons and ? were protons as shown in ;!# the energy would be
( )
1 1
4 4 1 8 E E + 1
which is far less. This simple picture shows that it is more
favourable energetically to have ! Z 2
If we include the Coulomb repulsion between the protons# the energy levels of the
protons become higher than the energy levels of the neutrons. "s A increases# it
becomes more favourable to have a small e)cess of neutrons.
%ome elements have more stable isotopes than others. The elements with the
most number of stable isotopes have Z values of ?# I# ?7# ?I# :7# I? and 6?D.
These are called magic numbers# as the reason for stability was not understood at
the time they were discovered. 8or e)ample# calcium ( ) 20 Z
has D stable
isotopes whereas potassium ( ) 19 Z
and scandium ( ) 21 Z
have only ? stable
isotopes each. %imilarly# nuclei with < equal to a magic number have a larger than
average number of isotones an isotone has the same ! value but a different Z
<uclei with 60 A 2 are more tightly bound together and so they are at lower
energy compared to the rest. ;inding energy is analogous to the energy required
to lift a bucket of water from a well. " large binding energy means the water is low
in the well# i.e. the water is at a low energy!. If two light nuclei with 60 A << are
brought together they create a new nuclei at lower rest energy this is called
fusion!. "lso a heavy with 60 A >> can split into two nuclei of lower rest energy
this is called fission!.
1.;. -ass and Is010pi/ bundan/e
*roperties of the atomic nucleus# discussed in the prevous sections# binding
energiesC decay rates# etc are the basic quantities determining the elemental and
isotopic abundances in nature.
The relative abundance of an isotope in nature compared to other isotopes of the
same element is relatively constant. The Chart of the <uclides presents the
relative abundance of the naturally occurring isotopes of an element in units of
atom percent. "tom percent is the percentage of the atoms of an element that are
of a particular isotope. "tom percent is abbreviated as aAo. 8or e)ample# if a cup of
water contains
8.23 10
atoms of o)ygen# and the isotopic abundance of
o)ygen-6I is 7.?7R# then there are
1.65 10 atoms of o)ygen-6I in the cup.
The atomic weight for an element is defined as the average atomic weight of the
isotopes of the element. The atomic weight for an element can be calculated by
summing the products of the isotopic abundance of the isotope with the atomic
mass of the isotope.
Calculate the atomic weight for the element lithium. 9ithium-D has an atom percent
abundance of E.:R and an atomic mass of D.76:6?? amu. 9ithium-E has an
atomic abundance of G?.:R and an atomic mass of E.76D77F amu.
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) A,o%(9 0a&& C(,"(2% = 0.75 6.015122a%2 0.925 7.016003 a%2
=6.9409 a%2
The other common measurement of isotopic abundance is weight percent wAo!.
.eight percent is the percent weight of an element that is a particular isotope. 8or
e)ample# if a sample of material contained 677 kg of uranium that was ?I wAo
uranium-?F:# then ?I kg of uranium-?F: was present in the sample.
1.< Nu/lear -0dels
There are two basic types of simple nuclear model
Collective body with no individual particle states. "n e)ample is the 9iquid &rop
(odel which is the basis of the semi-empirical mass formula.
Individual particle model with nucleons in discrete energy states for e)ample the
8ermi 5as (odel or the %hell (odel.
The Li>ui- Dr)+ !)-el
This model is based on the fact that the density of the nucleus is roughly constant.
It predicts the total binding energy of the number from values of
a,o%(9 n2%<er.Z/F
ne2,ron n2%<er .5/
and %a&& n2%<er .A/
( )
2/ 3
1 2 3 4 1/ 3
. 1/
! Z

This is called the semi-empirical binding energy equation. The constants and the
origin of the terms is as follows:
15.70e@ C
The constant density of the nucleus implies that the distance
between nucleons and the number of nearest neighbours i.e. those within
F fm! is also constant. Thus the binding energy of each nucleon should also
be constant. $ence# the total binding energy should be proportional to the
number " of nucleons. This is called the 4)lu*e,.
17.80e@ C
The first term is an overestimate because it ignores the fact
that the nucleons near the surface of the nucleus have fewer neighbours
compared to a nucleon inside. .e have to subtract a term proportional to
the surface area#
4 R . ,sing
1/ 3
# the surface area becomes
2 2/ 3
4 R A
which is proportional to
2/ 3
. This ,he sur.ace,.
0.710e@ C
The repulsive force between protons reduces the binding
energy. There are
( ) 1
pairs of protons# each with a Coulomb potential
" e
1/ 3
. Thus we subtract a term proportional to
( )
1/ 3
1 Z Z

This is the C)ul)*9,
23.60e@ C
.e found in the simple 6-dimensional bo) model that a
departure from ! Z increases the energy of the nucleus and thus lowers
the binding energy# hence we subtract a term proportional to ( )
! Z "n
e)cess of neutrons is tolerated for a large A and so the term involves 1/ A
This is ,he e?cess 6eu,r)6,(
Shell *)-el
This model very much builds on the success of the atomic shell model which
e)plains the periodic properties of atoms in terms of the filling of electron energy
levels. .hen the group of levels associated with a shell are all occupied we have
particularly stable chemically inert! atoms - the rare gases. In the nuclear case we
will first summarise the evidence that there are particular values of J and < so
called magic numbers! which are significant with regard to the structure of nuclei.
There are a large number of isotopes# isotones at these particular values of J#<.
This is also supported by the natural abundances of elements shown in the figure
F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 0
6 " beam of fast moving

-particles were directed towards thin film of gold. The

# and
of the transmitted beams corresponding to incident parts
"#; and C of the beam are shown in the figure below The number of

particles in
(a) 1' will be minimum and in ;> ma)imum
(b) A' will be minimum and C> ma)imum
(c) A' will be ma)imum and ;> minimum
(d) 6' will be minimum and in C> will be ma)imum.
? "n

-particle of energy D(e+ is projected toward a nucleus of atomic number

:7. The distance of nearest approach is
2.4 10

2.4 10

2.4 10

90, 2.4 10

F The nucleus radius is of the order of




B The difference between
235 238
92 92
and U U atoms is that
U contains F more neutrons
U contains F more neutrons nd three more electrons
U contains F more protons and F more electrons
U contains F more protons
: .hich of the following statements is true for nuclear forces
(a) They are equal in strength to the electromagnetic forces
(b) They are short range forces
(c) They obey the inverse third power law of distance
(d) They obey the inverse square law of distance
D =f the three basic forces gravitational# electrostatic and nuclear which two are
able to provide an attractive force between two neutrons
(a) gravitation and electrostatic
(b) electrostatic and nuclear
(c) gravitational and nuclear
(d) some other forces like van der .aals
E In a nucleus the total mass of protons and neutrons is less than the sum of
their individual masses. This suggests that
(a) The mass defect accounts for the enrgy of the electrons surrounding the
(b) The mass defect accounts for the binding energy hoding he particles
together in the nucleus
(c) The mass defect is due to electrons surrounding the nucleus
(d) <one of the above
I The phenomenon of nuclear fission is used in the construction of
(a) an atom bomb
(b) hydrogen bomb
(c) an ordinary bomb
(d) none of the above
G =)ygen of atomic number I is known to have three stable isotopes of mass
numbers 6D#6E and 6I. .hich of the following statement is not correct/
(a) "ll atoms of different mass numbers have different chemical properties
(b) %ome atoms have 67 neutrons# some have G neutrons and some have only
I neutrons
(c) 3ach atom has I protons in the nucleus and I electrons outside the nucleus
67 The binding energies per nucleon for deuteron ( )
and helium
, and

are 1.1 MeV and 7.0 MeV respectively. The energy released when two
neutrons form a helium nucleus ( )
(a) 11.8MeV
(b) 32.4MeV
(c) 23.6MeV
(d) 28MeV
66 which of the following does not obey inverse square law force
(a) electrostatic force
(b) magnetic force between two poles
(c) gravitational force
(d) nuclear force
6? The mass density of a nucleus varies with mass number " as
(b) "
(c) constant
(d) 6A"
6F "ccording to 4ukawa the nuclear force arises though the e)change between
nucleons of
(a) proton
(b) photon
(c) positron
(d) meson
6B " neutron when disintegrates# gives
(a) a proton and an electron with a neutrino
(b) a positron and an electron with a neutrinGo
(c) a proton and a positron with a neutrino
(d) a proton and -radiation with a neutrino
6: In the disintegration chain
U X Z # the values of J and " will be
90, 234 Z A
88, 232 Z A
91, 234 Z A
92, 236 Z A
6D If the binding energy of the deuterium is ?.?F (ev# the mass defect given in
amu is 6 a.m.u KGF6 (e+!-
(a) 7.77?B
(b) -7.776?
(c) 7.776?
(d) 7.77?B
40 40 40
, and are K Ar Ca
(a) isotopes
(b) isobars
(c) isotones
(d) isoganals
6I In a graph between binding energy per nucleon and mass numbers small
peaks indicate that the corresponding elements are
(a) radioactive
(b) less stable
(c) comparably more stable
(d) more abundant
6G .hich of the following pairs is an isobar/
1 2
1 1
and H H
2 3
1 1
and H H
12 13
6 6
and C C
30 30
15 14
and P #i
?7 Consider the following forces in nature I 5ravitation II %trong III 3lectrostatic
I+ .eak. If the forces are arranged in decreasing magnitude the correct
combination is
(a) III# II#I+#I
(b) II# III# I+#I
(c) II#I+#III#I
(d) I#II#I+#III
?6 If 6 g of
U contains about
10 atoms# the total amount of energy released
by it in fission is
10 n L where n is equal to
(a) 7.?
(b) 6.?
(c) ?.?
(d) F.?
?? The mass defect of an atom of mass (# atomic number J and mass number
" is given by
(a) a. M8
(b) M89
. /
= . / >
p n
Z A Z +
?F The order of magnitude of the density of nuclear matter is
4 2
10 3g/%
17 3
10 3g/%
15 3
10 3g/%

34 3
10 3g/%
?B "tomic weight of ;oron is 67.I6 and it has two isotopes
5 11
10 5
and B B . Then
the radio of
10 11
10 5
and B B isotopes in nature would be
(a) 6G:I6
(b) 67:66
(c) 6::6D
(d) I6:6G
Teachi68 ,he C)6,e6, i6 Sec)6-ary Sch))l 0
The topic on atomic nucleus and the historical development of the theory is a
typical e)ample of how scientific theories are developed. =bservation S
formulation of theory to e)plain the observation S prediction by the theory S new
observations and re-testing of e)isting theories S and modify# update# revise etc
the e)isting theories.
The content may be delivered from the perspective of development. of theories in
"TI'IT) 2+ Radi0a/1i7i1y
4ou will require F: hours to complete this activity. In this activity you are guided
with a series of readings# (ultimedia clips# worked e)amples and self assessment
questions and problems. 4ou are strongly advised to go through the activities and
consult all the compulsory materials and use as many as possible useful links and
%pecific Teaching and 9earning =bjectives
&escribe radiations from the nucleus
,se radioactivity disintegration laws to solve problems
Identify and decide the type of equilibrium for a given series decay
"pply the radioactivity law half life! in carbon dating
Su**ary ). ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y
The phenomena of spontaneous disintegration of the nucleus of an atom with the
emission of some radiations is called *ad&$act&v&t.. 'adioactivity transforms
unstable nuclei by giving rise to


The fundamental law of radioactive decay states the rate of transformation of a
radioactive nuclei is proportional to the number of atoms of the nuclei.
! ! e

This is the basic law equation for radiactivity.
The intensity measurement of radioactivity is done in two units which are:
Curie# &efined as the that quantity of radioactive material which gives
3.7 10 d(&(n,egra,(on 4er &e9ond .
Ru,her.)r- %R-&# It is defined as that amount of radioactive substance which
10 disintegrationsAsec.
In nature there are radioactive elements that e)hibit successive transformation# i.e
one element decays into a radioactive substance that is also radioactive. In
successive radioactive transformation# if the number of nuclides of any member of
the chain is constant and not changing with time# it is called in radioactive
equilibrium. The condition for equilibrium is are# therefore#
!"ere &2<&9r(4,& P, G and H &,and $or 4aren,, da2g"e,er and grandda2g",er re&4e9,(-ely.
! !
'r ! !
! !

%tudy of radioactivty and radioisotopes has several applications in science and

technology. %ome of them are:
6. 'adioactive dating:
?. Trace element analysis:
F. (edical application as diagnostic and treatment etc.
Lis, ). Re>uire- Rea-i68s
Reading 2: CHAPTER TO
Complete reference: PHYSICS 481 Lecture Notes and Study Guide
From &epartment of *hysics "ddis "baba ,niversity# by Tilahun
Tesfaye*h&! .
Abstract:In this reference ;basic relations of radioactivityC


are e)plained. There are a number of solved numerical problems in each section
and a set of problems provided at the end. of each section of the cahpter.
Ratio'a#e: This chater in the unit tallies &ith the content o" this
Lis, ). Rele4a6, !! Res)urces %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
%oftware# Interactive online e)ercises +ideos# animations etc
Res)urce A3# <uclear &ecay %imulator.
url:- http:AAwww.eserc.stonybrook.eduA*rojectLavaA'adiationAinde).html
C)*+le,e Re.ere6ce:- This applet offers an interactive representation of
radioactive decay series. The four series represented are Th?F?# *u?B6# ,?FI#
and ,?F:. ,se the radio buttons to select the series that you would like to study.
The %equence Info button displays a chart that depicts the path of the series with
atomic number indicated on the vertical a)is on the left# and number of neutrons
shown along the bottom. Colored arrows represent alpha and beta decays. To
return to the main user interface# click the &ismiss button.
Initially# a selected series contains all parent material# and the amount is
represented by a colored bar on a vertical logarithmic scale. 3ach line represents
a factor of ten. In order to step forward through the sequence by a specified
number of years# you may type the appropriate number into the Time %tep field
and hit 3nter. ;y hitting 3nter repeatedly# you can view the series at successive
intervals. " negative time step will backtack through the sequence.
Click the "nimate button to automate the progress through the series. 4ou can
either choose a time step before you animate# or leave it at 2ero. If the time step is
left at 2ero# the system will choose time steps to optimi2e viewing performance.
The scrollable "ctivity 9og on the right keeps a record of the amounts of the parent
and all daughter products for each time increment.
Res)urce A1# <uclear &ecay %imulator.
url:- http:AAmichele.usc.eduAjavaAfissionAnuclear.html
C)*+le,e Re.ere6ce:- " Lava simulator. "llows the user to set up a square bo)
full of two different types of particles. 3ach can have distinct values for
spontaneous decay rate# neutrons generatedAfission and neutron capture rate.
There is also an e)ternal neutron source which can be set to inject a varying
number of neutrons
This applet is designed to mimic a sample of a radioactive material. .hen the
applet starts up# you should get three windows: the simulator itself# the control
panel and the graph window.
Inside the simulator window you will see a number of unmoving blue and possibly
green! spheres. These mimic atoms in a solid# which may fission when hit by a
neutron# or might fission spontaneously. The blue and green atoms may behave
differently from each other- the settings are in the control panel. There are also
moving red balls- these are neutrons. .hen a neutron passes close to an atom# it
may be absorbed by that atom. This may cause the atom to fission# releasing
more neutrons and making the atom disappear. ItTs also possible that an atom may
just fission on itTs own# releasing neutrons. =nce a neutron has left the simulator# it
Lis, ). Rele4a6, Use.ul Li6@s %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
9ist of links# providing an alternative perspective on the curriculum material# each with Nscreen captureN
Useful Lin8 32 ."9s 0f Nu/lear %/ien/e
Ti1le+ Ra-i)ac,i4e -ecay
URL+ h11p+44en.:i8ipedia.0r54:i8i4Radi0a/1i7e=de/ay
%/reen "ap1ure+
Des/rip1i0n+ #$%&cs '&(e )uc'ea* +t*uctu*e, -ad&$act&v&t., '%/a 0eca., "eta 0eca.,
1amma 0eca., 2a'3-4&3e, -eact&$ns, 5us&$n, 5&ss&$n, !$sm&c -a.s and nt&matte*
a*e d&scussed &n t/&s s&te. 5u*t/e* t/e*e a*e '&n(s t$ $t/e* s$u*ces 3$* 3u*t/e*
Ra1i0nale+ #/&s s&te /as c$m%*e/ens&ve c$ve*a6e $3 m$st $3 t/e nuc'ea* %/.s&cs t$%&cs
dea't &n t/&s m$du'e. #/e 'ea*ne* can c$nsu't t/e '&n(s t$ see $t/e* 'ectu*es..
De,aile- Descri+,i)6 ). ,he Ac,i4i,y %!ai6 The)re,ical Ele*e6,s&
The term Mnatural radioactivity> applies to the spontaneous transformation of one
nuclear species into anther with the emission of some particles such as alpha#
beta# antineutrinos# and neutrinos! another with the emission of particles or
electromagnetic radiations gamma-rays!. <atural radioactivity is displayed by the
heavy nuclei at the end of the periodic Table# beyond lead. There are also naturally
radioactive light nuclei# such as the potassium isotope
K # and the carbon
C # to name but a few.
2.1+ Radi0a/1i7i1y, Dis/07ery and La:s+
*ierre and (arie Curie found that the radiation from pitchblende was four times as
strong as from uranium. This led to an intensive search for the source of this
stronger radiation. 8inally# in 6IGI# the curies succeeded in discovering two new
substances which they named polonium#
Po # and radium#
The substances emitting the newly discovered radiation were called radioactive#
and the newly discovered property was named radioactivity by (me (. Curie.
It was soon found that the rays from these radioactive substances were of three
kinds# called al+ha-rays# 9e,a rays and 8a**a rays.
Al+ha rays are positiveC # beta-rays are negative# and gamma rays are uncharged.
8urther investigations showed that alpha-rays were helium nuclei. " glass vial
holding a sample of radon# a radioactive gas ( )
was placed in a glass vessel
from which practically all air had been evacuated. The alpha-particles emitted by
the radon sample were absorbed by the walls of the vessel# each captured two
electrons# and turned to helium atoms. These were driven from the walls of the
vessel by heating.
The spectrum of the gas in the vessel was found to be identical with the emission
spectrum of helium# and this confirmed that the alpha-particles emitted by the
radon sample turned to helium. "pplying the methods of magnetic and
electrostatic deflection. 'utherford determined the specific charge#

# of alpha
particles where

is the mass of an alpha-particle! and found that their charge

was ?e and the mass the same as that of the nucleus of the helium isotope#
De .
Be,a-rays are streams of very fast electrons whose velocity e)ceeds that of
ordinary cathode electron! rays and approaches that of light in a vacuum. Their
energy is 67 (e+. The character of betarays has been confirmed by measuring
their specific charge#
/ ( m

# where

is the mass of a beta-particle.

a**a-rays are a hard electromagnetic radiation much more penetrating of all
radioactive rays. The properties of gamma-rays mostly from their absorption and
scattering by substances. It has been found that they cause a weak ioni2ation in
the material they traverse. %ince they have higher frequencies that is# shorter
wavelengths! than @-rays# their quantum-mechanical properties stand out with
special clarity.
3)periments have shown that all radioactive radiations casue:
chemical effects#
blacken photographic plates#
ioni2e gases and# some solids and liquids to fluoresce.
These properties are at the basis of e)perimental techniques for the detection and
investigation of radioactive rays
La:s Of Radi0a/1i7e Disin1e5ra1i0n
In his e)periments on the identification of alpha-particles# 'uther ford found that
the amount of radioactive radon decreased with time e)ponentially as e)p-bt!
where b is the decay constant independent of the environments and the
concentration of radioactive atoms. The disintegration of radium in
2 2
1 and RaC RaBr
has been found to be dependent solely on the number of radium
atoms in the compounds# that is# the rate of the disintegration is independent of
whether the sample is a pure element or a compound. These facts have led to the
conclusion that radioactive transformations are the property of nuclei which can
undergo these transformations spontaneously.
The nuclear transformations accompanied by the emission of alpha- and beta-
particles are called alpha- and beta-decay# respectively. 5amma-decay is non-
e)istent. The nucleus that undergoes a decay is called the %a*ent# the intermediate
products are called dau6/te*s# and the final stable element is called the end
3)perimental studies into radioactive disintegrations have led to the formulation of
transition rules:
A A*4 4
I Z*2 2 de9ay
A A 0
I Z)1 1 de9ay
Jor al4"a de9ay+ De
Jor <e,a de9ay+
X )
X )

.here : is the chemical symbol of the parent nucleus# ; is that of a daughter
De is the helium nucleus the end product!# and

is the electron of
charge -6 in units of elementary charge e! and of mass number 2ero# since the
electronic mass is 6A6IFD the protonic mass.
The transition rules are based on the conservation of charge and of mass number:
the sum of charges and of mass numbers! of the daughter nuclei and end
products is equal to the charge mass number! of the parent nucleus. This is
e)emplified by the decay scheme of radium with the emission of radon and an
226 222 4
88 86 2
#a #n De

Thus# the alpha-transformation removes four units of mass and two units of
charge# producing an element two steps down in the periodic Table. The beta-
disintegration removes one negative charge and essentially no mass# producing
an element one step higher in the periodic Table.
The daughter nucleus produced by radioactive decay is# as a rule# capable of
further decay# and so is the ne)t daughter produced by the decay of the first. Thus
we have a radioactive series or chain. 3ach member of a radioactive series is a
radioactive isotope radioisotope! of the element occupying the respective square
in the periodic Table.
The naturally radioactive nuclei form three radioactive series# namely:
the ,ranium series# starts from
U and terminates in a stable
P< !
the Thorium series starts from
K" and terminates in a stable
P< ! and
the "ctinium series# starts from
U and terminates in a stable
P< !
thus called after the respective parents#
238 232 235
92 90 89
U, K", and A1 There is one more
radioactive series produced artificially and starting with neptunium#
54 # a
transuranic element. In each radioactive series# each nuclide transforms into the
ne)t through a chain of alpha- and beta disintegrations# each chain terminating in
a stable isotopic nucleus. The neptunium series terminates in the
Bi bismuth!
3ven though we might not know which member of a given series undergoes
radioactive decay by the emission of alpha or beta and beta-transitions should
take place before the parent turns into a specified product nucleus. "s an
e)ample# we shall take up the transformation of the uranium nucleus into the lead
238 206
92 82
U P<. L L
The number

of alpha transitions can be found at once by dividing the difference

in mass number between the parent and the end product by four# because each
alpha transition removes four units of mass. In our e)ample#
1 2
. / / 4 8. n A A

To find the number of beta transitions# we first determine the decrease in charge
number: G?-I?K67 units. $owever# it should be recalled that each alpha transition
removes two units of charge# while each beta transition adds one unit of charge.
Thus# the number of beta-transitions is given by the equation:
1 2
2 10
Z Z n n
n n

8rom the value of

# we find that
6 n

. Thus# the uranium nucleus undergoes
eight alpha transitions and si) beta transitions before it transforms to the lead
.ith time# the number of parent nuclei decreases because of radioactive decay.
This decrease obeys a certain law which we seek to find. 9et at the initial instant of
time# 0 $ there be $ nuclei of the same element that will remain untransformed
by an arbitrary time t. %ince we are dealing with spontaneous transformations# it is
natural to assume that a greater number of nuclei will decay over a longer interval
of time. 8urthermore# the number of nuclei under going decay per unit of time say#
a minute! will be greater with a law of radioactive decay. If we have <
untransformed nuclei present at time t, and ! ! untransformed nuclei e)isting
at time $ $ + then change in the number of untransformed nuclei that is the
number of nuclei decaying in time $ will be proportional to <# that is:
F or * ! ! $ ! ! $ 2
where is a positive proportionality factor called the decay constantC it has a
definite value for each nuclear species. The minus sign on the right-hand side of
the above equation indicates that ! decreases with time. Thus it follows that the
decay constant is the fractional decreases in the number of nuclei decaying per
unit time:
( ) ! !

In other words# the decay constant represents the proportion of nuclei decaying
per unit time# or the decay rate. The decay constant is independent of ambient
conditions and is solely determined by the internal properties of the nucleus. It has
dimensions of
. T

In order to find the time dependence for radioactive decay. we can show that the
number of atoms of the original kind remaining after time
e84. / ! ! $
is the initial number of radioactive nuclei e)isting at t=0 and ) is the
number of radioactive nuclei present at t. " plot of in
. / / ! !
as a function of time
shows the decrease is e)ponential. The decay constant can be found from the
slope of the curve.
In practice the stability of radioactive nuclei against decay and the decay rate are
most often estimated in terms of the /a'3 '&3e#
1/ 2
# rather than the decay constant
The /a'3-'&3e is defined as the time at which half of the original nuclei have
decayed. %tated somewhat differently# the half-life is the time after which one half
the original number of nuclei remains untransformed. Thus#
1/ 2 1/ 2
, ($ . /
$ $ ! $
;y this definition and on the basis of the e)ponential decay law#
1/ 2
and are
related as
0 1/ 2
e84 .* /
! $
and taking a logarithm# we obtain
1/ 2
ln 2 0.693


The half-lives of naturally radioactive elements range between wide limits. 8or
uranium it is B :77 million years# for radium 6:G7 years# for protactinium F? 777
years# for radon F.I?: days# and for radium-C an isotope of polonium! it is
1.5 10 *

. 8or some induced radioactive elements the half-life is a few millionths

or even hundred-millionths of a second.
The constancy of
1/ 2
.or / $
for a given radioactive element implies that these
quantities represent huge numbers of atomic nuclei. Thus# radioactive decay is a
statistical process.
The above definition of the half-life is sometimes incorrectly construed as implying
that the total number of nuclei in a sample will decay in a time equal to
1/ 2
. This
is not so because if the number of nuclei remaining after the time
1/ 2
/ 2 !
then after the time
1/ 2
this number will be falf the number
82# or one-quarter of
# and in the time
1/ 2
this number will be half of
84 that is#
88# and so on.
It is natural to ask how one can measure a very long and a very short half-life. It is
obvious that the equation
! ! e

cannot be used for this purpose directly. $elp
comes from the fact that the members a radioactive series are comes from the fact
that the embers a radioactive series are radioactive# too. 5enerally# the number of
daughter nuclei is changing with time as well. This will continue until the decay
rate of a radioactive product daughter nuclei! becomes just equal to its rate of
formation from the previous member of the chain the parent nuclei!. This
condition is called ideal equilibrium. Thus# at ideal equilibrium
$ $

and so# at equilibrium the following relation holds
p p & p
! !
p p
& p &
! T
! T

"t ideal equilibrium# the numbers of parent and daughter nuclei are proportional to
their half-lives. This relation is used in cases where the half-life of a nuclear
species is either too short or too long for direct determination from equation
! ! e

In the International %ystem %I! of units# activity is e)pressed in


. " source is
said to have one unit of activity if it undergoes one decay every second.
"ctivity is often e)pressed in curies. =ne curie Ci! is the activity of 6g of radium#
that is# the number of decays per second occurring in one gram of radium. 9et us
find this number.
The curie is a very large unit# because radium is a very active element# and the
mass of one gram is a firly large amount for any practical preparation.This is why
in practice use is made of submultiples of the curie# namely the millicurie mCi!
and the microcurie
. / Ci
1% 10 1(
1 10 1(

"n alternative unit is the rutherford 'd!# a unit of radioactivity equal to

10 decays
per second#
6 1
1 10 R& *

. =bviously#
1 3.7 10 . Ci R&
The half-life of radium equal to 6:G7 years. 8ind its decay constant . and
determine the number of nuclei in one gram of radium.
The the number of radium atoms per gram. It is equal to "vogadro>s number#
divided by the mass of one kilomole# (:
24 1
24 *1
6.023 10 1/ 3%ole
/ 2.67 10 3g
226 3g/3%ole
=2.67 10 g
! !

Then the activity of one gram of radium will be

10 1
0.693 / 2.67 10
1590 365 24 3600
3.7 10
A ! ! T

That is# the number of decays per second in one gram of radium is FE777 milion
The definition of the cirie used at present reads as follows: The curie is a unit of
radioactivity defined as the quantity of any radioactive nuclide in which the number
of decays per second is
3.7 10 .
The law of radioactive decay# has been derived on the assumption that radioactive
decay in a given time interval $ . The point is that all nuclei of a given chemical
element are undistinguishable. The best we can do is to find an average number
of nuclei decaying in the time interval from ,o $ $ . Thus# what we have is a
statistical process# that is# the decay of a given nucleus is a random event having
a certain probability of occurrence.
The decay probability per unit time per nucleus may be derived as follows. If we
have < original nuclei and the number decaying in a time $ is ! # then the
relative decrease# / ! ! # in the number of nuclei per unit time# that is# the
quantity -
. / / ! ! $
gives the decay probability per unit time per nucleus.
This definition agrees with the meaning of the decay constant# . ;y definition#
the decay constant is the decay probability pre unit time per unit nucleus.
8or further discussion of this point look in the compulsory reading by the same
2.,+ ppli/a1i0n 0f Radi0a/1i7i1y
Ra-i)ac,i4e Da,i68
The decrease in the number of radioactive nuclei according to radioactive decay
law# may be used as a means for measuring the time that passes since a
specimen known to contain
radioactive atoms initially and the instant when
their number is ! . In other words# radioactivity provides a kind of time scale.
"ccording to the law of radioactivity:
! ! e

# the time interval between the
instants when the number of radioactive nuclei is
and ! is
0 0
1/ 2
5 5 1
ln 1.44 ln
5 5
$ $

_ _ _

, , ,
"s a rule# < represents the number of unchanged nuclei at the present time# so
that aboe equation gives the age the specimen containing the radioactive nuclei
In geologic studies# a different radioactive time scale is required for each
application. In determining the age of rocks# for e)ample# one should use a
sufficiently slow radioactive time scale# that is# radioactive decays with a half-life of
the same order of magnitude as geological epochs# running in to hundreds of
millions or even millions of millions of years. This condition is satisfied by the half-
live of
U and
U . <aturally occurring uranium is actually a mi)ture of both.
Their half-lives are B:77 million and G77 million years# respectively.
"t present# chemically pure and naturally occurring uranium contains
99.28L U, #
0.714L U,
0.006L U the latter being the decay product of
U . %ince its content is very small#
U may be neglected. 3ach of the
U isotopes is the parent of a radioactive series of its own# both of which
terminate in lead isotopes. Thus# lead nuclei are the end products of the
radioactive decay of uranium nuclei. ,sing the ratio between uranium and the lead
derived from it in natural uranium# one can readily determine the time interval
during which this amount of lead has accumulated.
In archaeology# radioactivity is used to date the objects found in e)cavations. In
such applications# the uranium time scale is unsuitable for at least two reasons.
8or one thing# artefacts have never contained uranium. 8or another# the uranium
time scale clock is too slow for human history where time is usually measured in
centuries or millennia. In other words# archaeological dating one needs a
radioactive time scale with a half-life of a few centuries or millennia. <ature has
provided such time scales.
The particles that make up the so-called primary cosmic rays are e)tremely
energetic and# colliding with the nuclei of the elements that form the 3arth>s
atmosphere# break them up into fragments These fragments are highly energetic#
too# and form the so-called secondary cosmic rays. The interaction of cosmic rays
with the nuclei of atmospheric nitrogen turns them into the nuclei of carbon with
mass number 6B# instead of 6?# as with ordinary carbon.
1 has a half life of
about ::E7 years# which fits archaeologists well. (oreover# because the intensity
of primary cosmic rays remains practically constant# there is an unvarying supply
of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere. 'adioactive carbon produces radioactive
carbon dio)ide through plants and the food cahain
1# finds its way into animals
and becomes part of their organs and tissues.
In a living plant or animal# the per cent content of radioactive carbon in comparison
with the ordinary carbon dos not change with time# because any losses are made
good by food. If# however# a plant or an animal dies# food cannot replenish the
loss of radioactive carbon any longer. Thus# one can determine the time passing
since the death of the organism or the age of an artifice made of an organic
,sing a charged particle counter# it has been found
1 decays by emission of
beta particles that one gram of radioactive carbon contained in the in the cellulose
of a living or a recently activity of the radioactive isotope is 6E.: particles per
minute. That is# the activity of the radioactive isotope is 6E.: decays per minute.
1/ 2
5570 $
years into minutes# we find the number of
1 nuclei that
have this magnitude of activity:
1/ 2
.1/ /. / /
1.44 . / /
1.44 5570 365 24 60 1.75
7.5 10
! ! $
$ ! $

Thus# one gram of carbon in the cellulose of a living or a recently cut tree contains
E: 777 million nuclei of radioactive carbon. This number progressively decreases
because it is not replenished and this happens when the tree is cut!# the original
number will decrease with time. That is# the activity of the remaining radio active
carbon will decrease progressively. If we compare its present activity to the activity
that was present when the wood was cut down# we can determine the time interval
between these two instants.
.hen this technique is applied to wooden artefacts usually found in
archaeological e)cavations# one actually finds the time at which a tree was cut.
This gives the age of the artefacts made from it.
F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 3
6! $ow do the electric charges of alpha# beta and gamma rays differ/
A6s( The alpha TrayT consists of alpha particles. 3ach alpha particle has a P ?
charge. The beta TrayT consists of electrons. 3ach electron has a -6 charge. "
magnetic field will push the oppositely charged particles in opposite directions.
The gamma ray consists of photons of light. They are not charged at all.
?! $ow does the source differ for a beam of gamma rays and a beam of @ rays.
A6s. 5amma rays come from the nuclei of some atoms. @ rays come from the
reconfiguration of electrons surrounding the nucleus of an atom. They may
also be produced when an electron undergoes a large acceleration.
F! 5ive two e)amples of a nucleon.
A6s. *rotons and neutrons are found in the nuclei of atoms and are therefor
called nucleons.
B! 5ive the atomic number for deuterium and for tritium.
A6s( &euterium and tritium are both isotopes of hydrogen. &euterium has one
proton and one neutron while tritium has one proton and two neutrons. The
both have atomic number 6.
:! $ow does the mass of a nucleon compare with the mass of an electron.
A6s( =ne nucleon is appro)imately 6I77 times more massive than an electron.
D! .hen beta emission occurs# what change takes place in an atomic nucleus/
A6s( ;eta emission occurs when a neutron emits an electron. The neutron
changes into a proton in the process. The atomic nucleus now has one more
proton that before the emission and thus is now an atom of a different element.
E! &istinguish between an isotope and an ion.
A6s( "n isotope of an element has a different number of neutrons than a
different isotope of the same element. "n ion is a charged atom. It is charged
because it does not have the same number of protons as electrons.
I! .hat is meant by radioactive half-life/
A6s. 'adioactive half-life is the time required for one half the remaining
radioactive nuclei to undergo radioactive decay.
G! .hen thorium# atomic number G7# decays by emitting an alpha particle# what is
the atomic number of the resulting nucleus. .hat happens to its atomic mass/
A6s. "n alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons. .hen
thorium undergoes alpha decay# the remaining nucleus will have II protons
instead of G7. The new atom will be atomic number II# which is radium-a
different element than before. The alpha particle consists of two protons and
two neutrons. "lpha decay reduces the atomic mass by four.
67!.hen thorium decays by emitting a beta particlean electron!# what is the
atomic number of the resulting nucleus/ .hat happens to its atomic mass/
A6s( .hen a nucleus undergoes beta decay# one of its neutrons changes into
a proton as it emits an electron. Therefore# the atomic number increases by
one. The new atomic number will be G6. "lthough the fleeing electron carries
a tiny bit of mass away with it# the atomic mass of the atom does not change.
66! .hat is the effect on the makeup of a nucleus when it emits an alpha particle/
" beta particle/ " gamma ray/
A6s. .hen the nucleus of an atom emits an alpha particle# it loses two protons
and two neutrons. .hen the nucleus of an atom emits a beta particle a neutron
changes to a proton. .hen the nucleus of an atom emits a gamma ray the
nucleus reconfigures itself to a less energetic state.
6?! .hich isotope of carbon is radioactive/ Carbon-6? or Carbon -6B
A6s( Carbon-6B is a radioactive isotope of carbon.
6F!.hy is there more C-6B in new bones than there is in old bones of the same
A6s( Carbon-6B changes to <itrogen-6B with a half-life of :#EF7 years. %o the
amount of Carbon-6B present in a substance is reduced over time
6B!@ rays are most similar to which of the following: alpha# beta# or gamma/
A6s. @ rays and gamma rays are most similar because they are both photons
of light. The others are not.
6:!%ome people say that all things are possible. Is it at all possible for a hydrogen
nucleus to emit an alpha particle/ 3)plain your answer.
A6s( " hydrogen nucleus contains only one proton and 2ero# one or two
neutrons. "n alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons.
Therefore a hydrogen atom cannot emit an alpha particle. It cannot emit what
it doesnTt have.
6D!.hy are alpha and beta rays deflected in opposite directions in a magnetic
field/ .hy arenTt gamma rays deflected/
A6s( "lpha rays consist of positively charged helium nuclei. ;eta rays consist
of negatively charged electrons. 5amma rays are uncharged photons of light.
" magnetic field will apply a force to a moving charged particle. *ositively
charged particles are accelerated in one direction and negative charged
particles are accelerated in the opposite direction. ;ecause gamma rays are
not charged# they are unaffected by the magnetic field.
6E!The alpha particle has twice the electric charge of the beta particle but# for the
same velocity# accelerates less than the beta in a magnetic field. .hy/
A6s( 8rom <ewtonTs second law of motion we know that acceleration is directly
proportional to the net force applied to an object and inversely proportional to
the objects mass. "lthough the force applied to the alpha particle is twice that
applied to the beta particle# the alpha particle is appro)imately FD77 times
more massive than the beta.
6I! .hich type of radiation results in the greatest change in atomic mass/ "tomic
A6s. "lpha radiation. "lpha radiation. The resulting nucleus will be missing
two protons and two neutrons. The atomic mass will be four less than the
original and the atomic number will be two fewer than the original.
6G! .hich type of radiation results in the least change in atomic mass/ The least
change in atomic number/
A6s( 5amma radiation. There is no change in mass number or atomic
number because a gamma ray is a photon of light.
?7!In bombarding atomic nuclei with proton NbulletsN# why must the protons be
accelerated to high energies if they are to make contact with the target nuclei/
A6s. "tomic nuclei are positively charged. The proton NbulletsN are positively
charged. They will be repelled away from each other by the electromagnetic
?6!The amount of radiation from a point source is inversely proportional to the
distance from the source. If a 5eiger counter 6 meter from a small sample
reads FD7 counts per minute# what will be its counting rate ? meters from the
source/ F meters from the source/
A6s( &oubling the distance will result in a count of
( )
1 2
the original
count. 6AB of FD7 K G7 counts per minute. Tripling the distance will result in
( )
1 3
the original count. 6AG of FD7 K B7 counts per minute.
??! .hen
#a decays by emitting an alpha particle# what is the atomic number
of the resulting nucleus/ .hat is the name of the element/
A6s( .hen the nucleus of an atom emits an alpha particle# it loses two protons
and two neutrons. The remaining nucleus will be atomic number ID and its
mass number will be ???. The reaction can be written as follows:
226 222 4
88 86 2
#a #a De +
?F! .hen
Po emits a beta particle# it transforms into a new element.
a! .hat are the atomic number and atomic mass of this new element/
b! .hat are atomic number and atomic mass if the polonium instead emits an
alpha particle/
a! ;eta emission occurs when a neutron emits an electron as it changes into a
proton. .hen emits a beta particle# its atomic number increases by one and
its atomic mass remains unchanged. The resulting atom will be atomic number
I: and its atomic mass is ?6I. The reaction can be written as follows:
218 218 0
84 85 1
Po A,
where represents the emitted electron !

b! .hen the nucleus of an atom emits an alpha particle# it loses two protons
and two neutrons. If
Po emits an alpha particle its new atomic number will
be I? and its new atomic mass will be ?6B. The reaction can be written as
218 214 4
84 82 2
Po P< De +
?B! %tate the number of protons and neutrons in each of the following nuclei:
2 12 56 197 90 238
1 6 26 79 38 92
D 1 Je A2 Ar and U ! ! ! ! !
A6s( $ydrogen ? has 6 proton and 6 neutron.
Carbon 6? has D protons and D neutrons.
Iron :D has ?D protons and F7 neutrons.
5old 6GE has EG protons and 66I neutrons.
%trontium G7 has FI protons and :? neutrons.
,ranium ?FI has G? protons and 6BD neutrons.
?:! $ow is it possible for an element to decay forward in the periodic table-that is#
to decay to an element of higher atomic number/
A6s( .hen the nucleus of an atom of an element undergoes beta decay# one
of its neutrons changes to a proton as it emits an electron. This will increase
the number of protons and therefor the atomic number# by one.
?D! If a sample of a radioactive isotope has a half-life of 6 year# how much of the
original sample will be left:
a! "t the end of one year/
A6s( 6A?
b! "t the end of two years/
A6s( 6AB
c! "t the end of three years/
A6s( 6AI
?E! " sample of a particular radioisotope is placed near a 5eiger counter# which is
observed to register 6D7 counts per minute. 3ight hours later the detector
counts at a rate of 67 counts per minute. .hat is the half-life of the material/
A6s( The half-life is ? hours. $ere is my reasoning. If you cut 6D7 in half you
will have I7. 6A? of I7 K B7. 6A? of B7 K ?7. 6A? of ?7 K 67. .e repeated this
process B times. 8our half-lives have elapsed. 3ight hours divided by B#
equals ? hours.
Teachi68 ,he C)6,e6, i6 Sec)6-ary Sch))l 3
Counting statistics# using 5( tube may be a good approach to deliver contents on
radioactivity. Introductory physics students will recogni2e that radioactivity is used
in medicine# agriculture and industrial applications. 'elating these applications to
the demonstrations# laboratory e)ercises# and solutions of problems will help in
teaching this concept.
"TI'IT) ,+ In1era/1i0n 0f Radia1i0n :i1h -a11er
4ou will require F: hours to complete this activity. In this activity you are guided
with a series of readings# (ultimedia clips# worked e)amples and self assessment
questions and problems. 4ou are strongly advised to go through the activities and
consult all the compulsory materials and use as many as possible useful links and
S+eci.ic Teachi68 a6- Lear6i68 O9:ec,i4es
&escribe interaction of light charged and heavy charged particles with
Identify and describe the four major interactions of photons with matter
,se cross sections and coefficients of interaction to solve problems
&escribe gas filled# scintillation and semiconductor detectors construction#
principle and use!
Su**ary ). ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y
.hen charged particles pass through matter they lose energy to the medium by
the following processes.
i. Inelastic collisions with orbital electrons e)citation and ionisation of atoms!#
ii. 'adiative losses in the field of nuclei ;remsstrahlung emission!#
iii. 3lastic scattering with nuclei and
iv. 3lastic scattering with orbital electrons.
.hich of these interactions actually take place is a matter of chance. $owever
energetic electrons lose energy mainly by inelastic collisions which produce
ionisation and e)citation# and also by radiation. Charged particles in general lose
energy mainly by the coulomb interactions with the atomic electrons. If the energy
transferred to the electrons in an atom is sufficient to raise it to higher energy state
in the atom# this process is called e)citation. If the energy transferred is more# the
electron is ejected out of this system. This process is called ionisation.
*hotons may interact with the atomic electrons# with the nucleons or with the field
produced by them. The probability of interaction depends on the atomic number Z
of the material and the energy of the photon. as summari2ed in the table below.
Type of

Interaction with

Elastic scattering
I. A,o%(9 ele9,ron&
!hotoelectric effect:
K .lo! energy/
."(g" energy/

"ayleigh scattering
.lo! energy l(%(,/

II. 529leon&
P"o,on29lear rea9,(on&+
( ) ( ) ( ) , , , e,9,
Z ." 10 0e@/
n p +

:la&,(9 n29lear
III. :le9,r(9 $(eld o$
9"arged 4ar,(9le&
!air production
a/ . 1.020e@/
</ . 2.040e@/
" Z h
" Z h

Gel<rM93 &9a,,er(ng
I@. 0e&on&
P"o,o%e&on 4rod29,(on
140 h eV
9ist of 'equired 'eadings Reading ": CHAPTER THREE .
Complete reference: PHYSICS 481 Lecture Notes and Study Guide
From &epartment of *hysics "ddis "baba ,niversity# by Tilahun
Tesfaye*h&! .
Abstract: This Reading contains a detailed account o" interaction o"
hea)y and light charged articles &ith matter$ Interaction o" hotons is
also discussed in detail$ Gas (eld5 scintillation and solid6state detectors
are also discussed$
This chater tallies &ell &ith the (rst acti)ity o" this module$
Lis, ). Rele4a6, !! Res)urces %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
%oftware# Interactive online e)ercises +ideos# animations etc
Res)urce A1B Cal *oly *hysics &epartmentTs +irtual 'adiation 9aboratory 5eiger
url#-: http:AAwww.csupomona.eduAUpbsiegelAwwwA5eigerVCounterA5eiger.html
Da,e C)6sul,e-#-Lan ?77I
Descri+,i)6#- The virtual 5eiger counter operates similar to the real one. The
5eiger counter has two sample holders. In each sample holder you can pick
either an empty holder# ;a6FEm or (n:B :

Ci!. The detector has a dead time#

and there is a background. The buttons are similar to a real 5eiger counter. To
operate: set the counting time and click start. Counting stops after the counting
time. Then clear the counter. To record counts from the ;a6FEm samples# you
need to select the sample and click on -squee2e out ;a0. %quee2ing out the
sample refreshes the ;a source# which has a short half life. The button refreshes
both sources when clicked. The sources are only counted when they are in the
sample holder.
3)periments that can be done using this virtual lab are
0( &ead time measurement: (easurement of the detector>s dead time
3( %tatistics of <uclear &ecay: 3)amine if the detector>s counts follow a
*oisson distribution.
1( 3fficiency measurement of the detector
7( $alf-life of ;a6FE: Take data on ;a6FE and determine its half-life.
'emember to account for background and dead time
Res)urce A7B Cal *oly *hysics &epartmentTs +irtual 'adiation 9aboratory <aI
5amma &etector!
url#-: http:AAwww.csupomona.eduAUpbsiegelAwwwAnaidatA&etector.html
Da,e C)6sul,e-#-Lan ?77I
Descri+,i)6#- ,sing this virtual <aI detector you can calibrate the detector for
energy and determine the energy of unknown gamma source.
To run the applet# click on gamma detector Calibration! . 4ou will see the (C"
screen with 67?B channels. The samples include three standards and an
unknown. The unknown is a single isotope. 4our goal is to determine the
photopeak energies and the identity of the unknown. The energy of the detected
gamma is appro)imately! proportional to the channel number. ,se the standards
Cs6FE DD6.DB We+!# <a??:66.77FB and 6?EB.: We+!# and (n:BIFB.I?E We+!
to determine the parameters of the linear or quadratic! relationship between
channel number and energy. Then find the channel numbers of the photopeaks of
the unknown# determine their energies from your calibration line# and interpolate to
find the gamma energies of the unknown. To assist you# a table of gamma
energies be patient# it takes a while to load! is supplied.
This virtual laboratory also helps you determine half life of WB7C attenuation of
5amma radiation in 9ead 3)periment and attenuation of @-rays in "luminium
Lis, ). Rele4a6, Use.ul Li6@s %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
9ist of links# providing an alternative perspective on the curriculum material# each with Nscreen captureN
Useful Lin8 3,+> M<# =7>) !=?-+>@->
Ti1le+ <nte*act&$n $3 -ad&at&$n A&t/ Matte*
URL+ /tt%B88en.A&(&%ed&a.$*68A&(&84aAC$3Cun&ve*sa'C6*av&tat&$n
%/reen "ap1ure+
Des/rip1i0n+ "as&c %*&nc&%'es $3 &nte*act&$n $3 e'ect*$ma6net&c *ad&at&$n, t/e*ma'
neut*$ns, and c/a*6ed %a*t&c'es A&t/ matte*. <nt*$duces c'ass&ca' e'ect*$d.nam&cs,
Duantum t/e$*. $3 *ad&at&$n, t&me-de%endent %e*tu*bat&$n t/e$*., t*ans&t&$n
%*$bab&'&t&es and c*$ss sect&$ns desc*&b&n6 &nte*act&$n $3 va*&$us *ad&at&$ns A&t/
at$m&c s.stems. %%'&cat&$ns &nc'ude t/e$*. $3 nuc'ea* ma6net&c *es$nanceE
-a.'e&6/, -aman, and !$m%t$n scatte*&n6E %/$t$e'ect*&c e33ectE and use $3
t/e*ma' neut*$n scatte*&n6 as a t$$' &n c$ndensed matte* *esea*c/..
Ra1i0nale+ #/e s&te %*$v&des a deta&'ed desc*&%t&$n and s$'ved %*$b'ems $n t/e t$%&c. .
Da1e "0nsul1ed+ - F)?-; 2008
De,aile- Descri+,i)6 ). ,he Ac,i4i,y %!ai6 The)re,ical Ele*e6,s&
.hen a charged particle# like electron# proton# alpha particle etc.# passes through
matter it loses energy as a result of electromagnetic interactions with the atoms
and molecules of the surrounding medium. These interaction mechanisms are:
6. Inelastic collisions with orbital electrons e)citation and ionisation of atoms!#
?. 'adiative losses in the field of nuclei ;remsstrahlung emission!#
F. 3lastic scattering with nuclei and
B. 3lastic scattering with orbital electrons.
.hich of these interactions actually take place is a matter of chance. The
character of these interactions and the mechanism of the energy loss depends on
the charge and velocity of the particle and on the characteristics of the medium
Charged particles are classified mainly into two groups: /eav. %a*t&c'es of mass
comparable with the nuclear mass protons# alpha particles# mesons# and atomic
and molecular ions!# and e'ect*$ns.
,.1+ In1era/1i0n 0f !ea7y and Li5h1 "har5ed Par1i/les :i1h -a11er
Charged particles in general lose energy mainly by the coulomb interactions with
the atomic electrons. If the energy transferred to the electrons in an atom is
sufficient to raise it to higher energy state in the atom# this process is called
e)citation. If the energy transferred is more# the electron is ejected out of its atom.
This process is called &$n&sat&$n. These two processes are closely associated and
together constitute the energy loss by inelastic collision. The ejected electron will
lose its kinetic energy and finally attach itself to another atom thereby making it a
negative ion. These together constitute an ion pair. %ome of the electrons ejected
may have sufficient energy to produce further ionisation. %uch electrons are called
delta ( )
rays. In any case# the energy for these processes comes from the kinetic
energy of the incident particle# which is slowed down.
1(0(0 I6,erac,i)6 ). 'ea4y Char8e- Par,icles /i,h !a,,er
3nergy-9oss (echanisms
Coulombic interactions between the particle and electrons in the medium is
the the basic mechanism for the slowing down of a moving charged particle
in a material medium. This is common to all charged particles
" heavy charged particle traversing matter loses energy primarily through
the ioni2ation and e)citation of atoms
The moving charged particle e)erts electromagnetic forces on atomic
electrons and imparts energy to them. The energy transferred may be
sufficient to knock an electron out of an atom and thus ioni2e it# or it may
leave the atom in an e)cited# nonioni2ed state.
" heavy charged particle can transfer only a small fraction of its energy in a
single electronic collision. Its deflection in the collision is negligible.
"ll heavy charged particles travel essentially straight paths in matter.
=ne of the quatntieties of interest in describing interaction of heavy charged
particles in matter is the stopping power ( ) &E &x
defined by:
4 2
9oll o
2 2 2
2 2
*d: 4 e I
A 5Z6 6e," $or%2la $or &,o44(ng 4o!er
d8 % -
2% -
!"ere 6 ln ln 1
, ,
c c



is the charge of the incident particle#
its velocity#
the number density
of atoms number of atoms per unit volume! of the material having atomic number
the electron rest mass and
the electron charge. The quantity
is a
material property called the mean e)citation energy# which is a logarithmic average
of the e)citation energies of the medium eighted by the corresponding oscillator
strengths. 3)cept for elements ith very low atomic number
# the mean e)citation
energies in
are ppro)imately to
,.2+ In1era/1i0n 0f Ph010ns :i1h -a11er.
Interaction of photons with matter by which individual photons are removed or
deflected from a primary beam of ) or -radiation# may be classified according to:
i. the kind of target# e.g. electrons# atoms or nuclei with which the
photon interacts.
ii. the type of event# e.g. scattering# absorption# pair-production etc.
which takes place.
The interactions taking place with atomic electrons are:
i. *hotoelectric effect "bsorption!
ii. 'ayleigh scattering %cattering!
iii. Compton scattering %cattering!
iv. Two photon Compton scattering (ulti photon effect!
The interactions which occur with nucleons are:
i. *hotonuclear reactions #n!# #p!# photo-fission etc.
ii. 3lastic nuclear scattering #! %cattering!
iii. Inelastic nuclear scattering #/! %cattering!
The interactions with electric field surrounding charged particle are:
i. 3lectron-positron pair production in the field of nucleus "bsorption!
ii. 3lectron-positron pair production in electron field "bsorption!
iii. <ucleon-anti-nucleon pair production "bsorption!
iv. The interactions occurring with mesons are:
i! *hoto-meson production "bsorption!
ii! (odified #! %cattering!
;ut out of all these interaction processes# five main processes are:
i. *hotoelectric effect
ii. Compton scattering
iii. *air production
iv. 'ayleigh scattering
v. v! *hoto-nuclear interactions
"nd of these even# first three are the most important# as they result in the
transfer of energy to electrons# which then impart that energy to matter in many
coulomb-force interactions along their tracks. 'ayleigh scattering is elastic# the
photon is merely redirected through a small angle without any loss of energy.
*hotonuclear interactions are only significant for photon energies above a few
(e+. In the following subsections# the individual interaction processes are
Tas8 ,.1.?ues1i0n f0r dis/ussi0n
&iscuss the following questions with your colleagues or on the discussion forum of
6. .hat are the most important interaction mechanisms by which photon
energies are degraded in a material medium/
?. .hat is the reason for protection against ioni2ing radiation/
,.;+ Nu/lear Radia1i0n De1e/10rs
F.B.6 5ass 8ield &etectors
5as 8illed 'adiation &etectors58'&! are the oldest of all radiation detectors and
are still being used
FRDCs +ri6ci+le ). )+era,i)6: .hen fast charged particles passes through a
gas# the type of interaction is to create both e)cited molecules and ioni2ed
molecules along its path. "fter a neutral molecule is ioni2ed# the resulting positive
ion and free electron are called an ion pair# and it serves as the basic constituent
of the electrical signal. Ions can be formed either by direct interaction with the
incident particle# or through secondary process in which some of the particle
energy is first transferred to an energetic electrons.
'egardless of the detailed mechanisms involved# the practical quantity of interest
is the total number of ion pairs created along the track of the radiation The
simplest of 58'& consists merely of two electrodes in a gas chamberC the walls of
the chamber are constructed to permit penetration by the radiation of interest. The
oldest but still very useful gas-filled nuclear radiation detector types are:
i! The ioni2ation chamber
ii! The proportional counter
iii! The 5eiger (uller 5(! counter
8igure shows 5as 8illed 'adiation &etector 58'&! and associated simplified
circuit. +oltage is applied between the cathode the wall of the tubular gas
container! and the anode the central wire# insulated from the tube wall!. Current in
the e)ternal circuit is governed by the conductivity of the gas inside the tube and
consequently by its ioni2ation.
In the absence of ioni2ation# the gas behaves like insulator and no current flows in
the e)ternal circuit. $owever the behaviour of ion pairs generated inside the 58'&
depends on electric field present# type of gasAgas-mi)ture# pressure inside the
detector and detector geometry etc.
8igure above shows characteristic curves for 58'& with both i!for alpha and
ii!for beta particle radiation. Increasing voltage between anode to
cathode reveals five regions.
Re8i)6 I# Rec)*9i6a,i)6 re8i)6
In the region I there is a competition between the loss of ion pairs by
recombination and the removal of charge by collection on the electrodes. .ith
increasing electric field the drift velocity of the ions increasesCtherefore the time
available for recombination decreases# and the fraction of the charge which is
collected becomes larger. 58'&s are not operated in this region.
Re8i)6 II# I)6i=a,i)6 Cha*9er re8i)6
&ue to sufficient electric field the ion pairs are forced to drift towards the
electrodes in region II# and because recombination is delayed or prevented# many
reach the electrodes. Current in this region depends almost e)clusively upon the
number of ions generated by the radiation# and is almost independent of the e)act
value of the applied voltage. This region is referred to as the saturation region or
the Ioni2ation chamber region.
Re8i)6 III# Pr)+)r,i)6al C)u6,er re8i)6
In 'egion III# electrons are accelerated to high velocities and produce secondary
ions by collision# leading to a multiplication of charge. This region# in which gas
multiplication is employed while at the same time a dependence of the collected
charge on the initial ioni2ation remains# is known commonly as the proportional
counter region.
Ion-multiplication gains of up to U67
are attainable in this method of operation.
The upper end of 'egion III is generally known as >the region of limited
proportionality> where output becomes more dependent on applied voltage than on
initial ioni2ation.!
Re8i)6 I"# ei8er Re8i)6
Ion-multiplication escalates in region I+ and# in the ensuing >avalanche># virtually all
primary and secondary electrons are accelerated sufficiently to create more
secondary and tertiary ions. Though the detector can no longer distinguish
between the different kinds of radiation or between different energies in this region#
detection sensitivity is e)cellent. 5eiger (uller tubes operate in this region which
is also often called the >5eiger (uller plateau>.
Re8i)6 "# Dischar8e re8i)6
8urther escalation of avalanche in 'egion + produces total ioni2ation of the gas
between the electrodes. " self-sustaining discharge# which will continue as long as
voltage is applied# can be instigated by a single pulse. This type of discharge can
be harmful to the detector and lengthy operation in this region should be avoided.
F.B.? %cintilation &etectors
%cintillatior can be used for ioni2ing radiation detection and spectroscopy of a wide
assortment of radiation. "vailability of scintillators in various physical forms i.e.
solid# liquid and gas!# availability of e)cellent photon detectors like *hotomultiplier
tubes# solid-state photon detectors and microelectronics for processing signals
makes these detectors quite useful for variety of applications.
8ollowing are the sequential events which takes place while detecting ioni2ing
The absorption of nuclear radiation in the scintillator# resulting in e)citation
and ioni2ation within it.
The conversion of the energy dissipated in the scintillator to light energy
through the luminescence process.
The transit of light photons to the photocathode of the photomultiplier tube.
The absorption of the light photons at the photo cathode and the emission
of the photoelectrons and subsequent electron multiplication process within
the photomultiplier tube.
The analysis of the current pulses furnished by the photo multiplier tube
through the use of the succeeding electronic equipment like an electronic
counter or a multi-channel analyser (C"!.
F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 1
6! 9ist four sources of ioni2ing radiation.
?! It is a primordial radioactive isotope and yet not part of naturally occurring
decay series/ .hich isotope is it/
F! The energy of Compton scattered photon versus the energy of the incident
photon is shown below
8igure Winematic 'elationship of incident and scattered photon
a! Interpret the graph for the incident photon energies H 7:76 ke+.
b! 8or which angle of photon scattering does the scattered electron took
greater share of energy. 8or X K G7Y or X K B:Y.
B! charged particle radiation travel in straight line# e)cept at distances close to
the range# in materials. 3)plain
:! Compared to photon radiation# charged particle radiation causes more damage
in a tissue despite its weak penetrating power. e)plain
"TI'IT) ;+ Nu/lear &0r/es and Ele2en1ary
4ou will require ?7 hours to complete this activity. In this activity you are guided
with a series of readings# (ultimedia clips# worked e)amples and self assessment
questions and problems. 4ou are strongly advised to go through the activities and
consult all the compulsory materials and use as many as possible useful links and
S+eci.ic Teachi68 a6- Lear6i68 O9:ec,i4es
Identify fundamental interactions in nature
3)plain 4ukawa>s theory of nuclear force
Identify elementary particles and describe their role in the process of
Su**ary ). ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y
Z(a) 677 words of the synopsis of the activity
In this activity description of the four fundamental forces and their relative strength
is described qualitatively. 4ukawaTs theory of nuclear forces is e)plained
The terms antiparticle# fermion# boson# lepton# hadron# meson and baryon are
e)plained. The concepts of charge conservation# baryon number conservation#
and lepton number conservation are e)plained and applied.
Lis, ). Re>uire- Rea-i68s %.)r ,he Lear6i68 Ac,i4i,y&(
Copyright free readings should also be given in electronic form to be provided on a C& with the module!
Lis, ). Re>uire- Rea-i68s
Reading #: $%N&A'ENTA( $ORCE) AN& E(E'ENTAR* PART+C(E
Complete reference:
Abstract:I This is a module from the *$4%<3T *'=L3CT# 3lementary particles
are described in a lucid manner and the module has questions for revision and
glossary at the end.
This chater in the unit tallies &ith the content o" this acti)ity$
De,aile- Descri+,i)6 ). ,he Ac,i4i,y %!ai6 The)re,ical Ele*e6,s&
<uclear force is one of the four interactions e)isting in nature. The discussion and
e)planation of nuclear force is connected with the physics of elementary particles.
In the first part of this activity you will study the four fundamental interactions in
nature. In the second part theories e)plaining nuclear force will be studied in more
detail. The final section of this activity you will look into elementary particles with
emphasis in their role in the nuclear interaction and interaction between
elementary particles. .
;.1+ &unda2en1al In1era/1i0ns in Na1ure
There are four fundamental interactions in nature vis strong <uclear!C
3lectromagneticC weak and gravitational. Table below shows therlative strengths of
the four basic interactions.
Ty+e ). I6,erac,i)6 Rela,i4e S,re68,h Ra68e


.eak eg. ;eta decay!

al%o&, Iero


%trong <uclear! 1
10 %

The forces of gravity and electromagnetism are familiar forces in everyday life.
The strong and weak interactions are new forces introduced when discussing
nuclear phenomena. .hen two protons encounter each other# they e)perience all
four of the fundamental forces of nature simultaneously. The weak force governs
beta decay and neutrino interactions with nuclei. The strong force# which we
generally call the nuclear force# is actually the force responsible for binding of
Nu/lear &0r/es
The forces operating between nucleons in a nucleus are called nuclear forces. "n
idea about these forces can be gained from general considerations. The stability of
nuclei and the release of energy as a nucleus is formed from nucleons are
indications that up to a certain distance between the nucleons# nuclear forces are
those of attraction.
<uclear forces cannot be ordinary electrostatic forces# for then a stable nucleus
composed of a proton and a neutron would be inconceivable. 4et# such a nucleus
does e)ist as the neutron# the nucleus of heavy hydrogen or deuterium#
. D The
deuteron is a stable system with a binding energy of ?.? (e+.
The nucleus occupies a finite element of space# and within this element the
nucleons must be a definite distances apart. =bviously at a certain distance#
attractive force gives way to repulsive force. The distance at which this transition
occurs is e)pressed in terms of fermis fm!. The fermi defined as
1 10 9% +m

The fermi is not unlike the unit of the first ;ohr radius in the hydrogen atom used in
the measurement of distances in atomic physics. =bservations and theory have
revealed some other properties of nuclear forces.
Pr)+er,ies ). Nuclear F)rces#
6. <uclear 8orces are %hort range: nuclear forces have been found to be
sh)r,-ra68e .)rces#. very short range# with essentially no effect beyond
nuclear dimensions The distance of ?.? fm has come to be known as the
range of nuclear forces.
?. Nuclear .)rces are char8e-i6-e+e6-e6,. That is# interactions between
two nucleons are independent of whether one or both nucleons have
electric charge. In other words# neutron-neutron# neutron proton and proton-
proton interactions are almost identical in character. Thus# as regards
specifically nuclear interactions# protons and neutrons are identical
particles. The charge independence of nuclear forces has been established
from e)periments on the scattering of protons by neutrons and of neutrons
by protons.
F. Nuclear .)rces are 6)6ce6,ral# or tensor# forces# that is# those whose
direction depends in part on the spin orientation of the nucleons# which may
be parallel or anti-parallel. This has clearly been shown by e)periments on
the scattering of neutrons by the molecules of parahydrogen and
orthohydrogen. " molecule of parahydrogen differs from that of
orthohydrogen in that in the former the protons have anti-parallel spin
orientation# and in the latter# parallel spin orientation. If the interaction
between nucleons were independent of spin orientation# neutrons would be
scattered identically by orthohydrogen and parahydrogen. =bservations
have testified to the opposite# that is# nuclear forces are dependent on spin
B. Nuclear .)rces are sa,ura9le# that is a nucleon can attract only a few of its
nearest neighbors.
;.2 Ele2en1ary Par1i/les
The discussion and e)planation of nuclear force is connected with the physics of
elementary particles. "mong the particles that are of importance in nuclear
physicsare the ones given in table below.
(any of these particles have their anti-matter counterpart. 8or e)ample there is
anti proton
4 for p# for

there is
# for

there is


there is

.hen a particle and its antiparticle meet they annihilate each other.
*articles are in general classified into two types according to the statistics they
I! 8ermions:
a. =bey the 8& statistics
b. have half integral spin i.e.
3 5
, ,
2 2 2
h h h
L , , , , n p

are e)amples of
8ermions are further classified as "a*.$ns 8ermions of mass m Smass
of proton! and 4e%t$ns 8ermions of mass m H mass of protons!.
II! ;osons:
a. =bey the ;3 statistics
b. have integral spin i.e.
, 2 , 3 , h h h L

, ,
are e)amples of 8ermions
;osons are further classified as 7/$t$ns ;osons of 2ero rest mass ! and mes$ns
;osons of non-2ero rest mass!
(esons and baryons# which interact strongly with nuclei <ucleons! are also
referred to in general as /ad*$ns. =n the other hand leptons and photons do not
interact strongly with nuclei.
;.2 )u8a:a9s The0ry 0f Nu/lear &0r/es
In covalent bonding# molecules are held together by sharing e)changing!
electrons. In 6GFD# 4ukawa proposed a similar mechanism to e)plain nuclear
"ccording to 4ukawaTs theory also known as meson theory! all nucleons consist
of identical cores surrounded by a cloud of one or more mesons and each nucleon
continuously emitting and absorbing pions. i.e. the force between nucleons is
e)plained as being the e)change of elementary particles by nucleons by one of
the following processes.
4 4
n n
4 n
n 4

These equations violet the law of conservation of energy. " proton of mass
equivalence of GFI (e+ becomes aneutron with GFG.:: (e+ and ejects a pion
with 6FG.:I(e+[ This energy conservation violation can happen only if the
violation e)ists for such short time that it can not be measured or observed by the
$eisenbergTs uncertainty principle:
: , &o ,"e -(ola,(on 9an e8(&, only ($
" "
: , , =
: %
d2r(ng ,"(& ,(%e, e-en ($ ,"e 4(on %o-e& !(," ,"e &4eed o$ l(g",,
,"e d(&,an9e ,"a, (, 9an %o-e (&
r = 9 ,
,"e range o$ n29lear

$or9e. (.e. ,"e d(&,an9e !(,"(n !"(9" ,"e
e89"ange o$ 4(on& <y n29leon& ,a3e& 4la9e.
1.5 10
, = 0.3 10 &e9
3 10
: = = 3.5152 10 ? = 145.570e@

This is close to the measured value of pion mass. Therefore 4ukawaTs theory the
meson theory! satisfies the two important characteristics of nuclear forces
6. <uclear force is the same between any two nucleons. i.e. p-pC p-n and n-n
forces are the same. This is satisfied by the meson theory sice there are
three types of mesons with the same mass.
?. 3)change of

meson a particle of non-2ero rest mass! by nucleons

satisfies the short range nature of nuclear forces. "s reasoned above# the
energy violation can happen only if the the e)change took place with in the
limits of nuclear dimension.
This can be reasoned easily as follows.
.hen a nucleon ejects a

meson the change in energy that is involved is at least

the energy contained by a meson at rest# i.e
m c

. Thus during the interaction of

nucleon and pions# the change in energy involved is:
E m c

%o during the ejection or absorption of a pion by a nucleon# the low of
conservation of 3nergy seems to be violated by a magnitude of
E m c

can happen only if the violation e)ists for such a short time that it cannot be
measured or observed by $eisenbergTs uncertainty principle as discussed above.
The potential for the

meson field is appro)imately given by:

. /
V r


is a constant and
m c

. This is commonly referred to as 4ukawa
The attractive force between nucleons does not e)ist for distance between
nucleons below a certain limiting distance. 8or distances less than a limiting
distance# the force between nucleons is a very strong repulsive force. The limiting
distance is about 7.: 8. This repulsive force is believed to be due to e)change of

mesons. The repulsion is often taken to be a hard core# i.e.# a region where the
potential goes to infinity.
Tas8 ;.1.?ues1i0n f0r dis/ussi0n
&iscuss the following questions with your colleagues or on the discussion forum of
6. .hat are cosmic rays# what kind of particles are coming to our earth from
e)tra terrestrial sources/
?. %earch form the internet the lattest number of elementary particles known.
F. .hy does e)chang of mesons gives rise to attractive force.
F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 7
&etermine the minimum kinetic energy of protons requiered for the formation of
-messon in the reaction
p p p p + + + #
b! a proton anti proton pair in the reaction
p p p p p p + + + + 8

Wnowing the mass of a neutral

-meson 6F:.7(evAc
!# determine the energy

-quanta formed during the decay of a stationary neutral

2 .
&etermine the ma)imum energy of electrons emitted during the beta decay of a
neutron if the neutron mass in GFG.:E (evAc
# and the mass of the hydrogen
atom is GFI.EF (evAc
O+,i)6al F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 3
Teachi68 ,he C)6,e6, i6 Sec)6-ary Sch))l 3
The search for the ultimate building blocks of matter is dated since the times of the
5reeks. This search is not yet ended. .e now not only know the e)istance of sub
atomic particles electrons# protons and neutrons! but also subparticles of the
subatomic particles themselves. $istoric account of 3lementary particles through
different era may be a good approach to present contnt at a school level.
N#C$EA" TE"MIN%$%&'
0( Nuclear Ter*i6)l)8y# There are several terms used in the field of nuclear
physics that an 'CT must understand.
a. Nucle)6# <eutrons and protons are found in the nucleus of an atom# and
for this reason are collectively referred to as nucleons. " nucleon is
defined as a constituent particle of the atomic nucleus# either a neutron or
a proton.
b. Nucli-e#-" species of atom characteri2ed by the constitution of its
nucleus# which is specified by its atomic mass and atomic number ( ) Z
# or
by its number of protons ( ) Z
# number of neutrons ( ) !
# and energy
content. " listing of all nuclides can be found on the G!/a*t $3 t/e
)uc'&des,G which will be introduced in a later lesson.
c. Is),)+e#- Isotopes are defined as nuclides which have the same number
of protons but different numbers of neutrons. Therefore# any nuclides
which have the same atomic number i.e. the same element! but different
atomic mass numbers are isotopes. 8or e)ample# hydrogen has three
isotopes# known as *rotium# &euterium and Tritium. %ince hydrogen has
one proton# any hydrogen atom will have an atomic number of 6.
$owever# the atomic mass numbers of the three isotopes are different:
*rotium $-6! has an mass number of 6 6 proton# no neutrons!#
deuterium & or $-?! has a mass number of ? 6 proton# 6 neutron!# and
tritium T or $-F! has a mass number of F 6 proton# ? neutrons!
3( !ass, a6- Bi6-i68 E6er8y#. The mass of an atom comes almost
entirely from the nucleus. If a nucleus could be disassembled to its constituent
parts# i.e.# protons and neutrons# it would be found that the total mass of the
atom is less than the sum of the masses of the individual protons and neutrons.
This difference in mass is known as the mass de3ect# ( )
. computed for each
nuclide# using the following equation
. /. /
. / . /. /
!"ere = %a&& de$e9,
Z=a,o%(9 n2%<er
0 %a&& o$ a 4ro,on .1.00728 a%2/
0 %a&& o$ ele9,oron .0.000548 a%2/
A= %a&& n2%<er
0 =%a&& o$ ne2,ron .1.00867/
0 =a,o%(9 %a&
p e n a
H n a
+ +

& .$ro% 9"ar, o$ ,"e n29l(de&/

%a&& o$ "ydrogen a,o%

1( Bi6-i68 E6er8y# Bi6-i68 e6er8y is ,he e6er8y e>ui4ale6, ). *ass,(
1a%2 931.4780e@
7( Bi6-i68 E6er8y Per6ucle)6# If the total binding energy of a nucleus is divided
by the total number of nucleons in the nucleus# the binding energy per
nucleon is obtained. This represents the average energy which must
be supplied in order to remove a nucleon from the nucleus.
5( Ra-i)ac,i4i,y %Ra-i)ac,i4e -ecay&#- the spontaneous decomposition of a
nucleus to form a different nucleus.
D( Ra-i)car9)6 -a,i68 %car9)6-07 -a,i68&#- a method for dating ancient wood
or cloth on the basis of the radioactive decay of the nuclide C-6B.
E( Ra-i),racer#- a radioactive nuclide# introduced into an organism for diagnostic
purposes# whose pathway can be traced by monitoring its radioactivity
F( Reac,)r c)re#- the part of a nuclear reactor where the fission reaction takes
G( RE!:- a unit of radiation dosage that accounts for both the energy of the dose
and its effectiveness in causing biological damage from roentgen equivalent
for man!
02( Res)6a6ce:- a condition occurring when more than one valid 9ewis structure
can be written for a particular molecule. The actual electronic structure is
represented not by any one of the 9ewis structures but by the average of all
of them
00( Nuclear Fissi)6# The splitting of heavy nuclei into at least two smaller nuclei
with an accompanying release of energy is called nuclear fission.
03( Nuclear Fusi)6:- 8usion is a reaction between nuclei which can be the source
of power. 8usion is the act of combining or -fusing0 two or more atomic nuclei.
8usion thus builds atoms. 8usion occurs naturally in the sun and is the
source of its energy.
( ) ( ) ( )
1 4 2) )
1 2
4 D De 2 e 24.70e@ + +
The reaction is initiated under the e)tremely high temperatures and pressure
in the sun?eP! P ?B.E (e+ 6 ? .hat occurs in the above equation is the
combination of B hydrogen atoms# giving a total of B protons and B electrons.
? protons combine with ? electrons to form ? neutrons# which combined with
the remaining ? protons forms a helium nucleus# leaving ? electrons and a
release of energy.
Res0ur/e 31
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%/reen "ap1ureB
Des/rip1i0n: "pplet shows the motion of the centre of mass of a dumbbell shaped
object. The red and blue dots represent two masses and they are
connected by a mass less rod. The dumbbell>s projection velocity can be
varied by using the velocity and angle sliders. The mass ratio slider allows
shifting of centre of mass. $ere m6 is the mass of the blue object and m? is
the mass of red object. Check bo)es for path6 and path? can be used to
display or turn off the paths of the two masses.
Ra1i0nale+ #/&s a%%'et de%&cts t/e m$t&$n $3 cent*e $3 mass $3 tA$ ba''s (s/$An &n *ed
and b'ue c$'$u*). #/e a%%'ets s%eed and an6'e $3 %*$Hect&$n can be va*&ed...
Res)urce A3 R),a,i68 S,))l
url:- h,,+#HHhy+er+hysics(+hy-as,r(8su(e-uHh9aseHrs,))(h,*lAs*
Complete 'eference:- 5ood animation graphics and applet to visuali2e the
dependence of moment of inertia on distribution of matter on an object..
'ationale: %trengthens what is already discussed in "ctivity ?.
Res)urce A1B$yper *hysics
url#-: http:AAhyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.eduAhbaseAvesc.html
Da,e C)6sul,e-#-"pril ?77E
Descri+,i)6#- This Lava applet helps you to do a series of virtual e)periments# .
you can determine the escape and orbital velocities by varying different
parameters of the projectile.
Useful Lin8 31 !'ass&ca' Mec/an&cs
Ti1le+ !'ass&ca' Mec/an&cs
%/reen "ap1ure+
Des/rip1i0n+ d7an/ed des/rip1i0n 0f 1he 10pi/s dis/ussed in 2e/hani/s I and II 0f
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2e/hani/s /0urses. The learner /an /0nsul1 /hap1ers @, A and $ 0f 1he
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Useful Lin8 32 #ut$*&a' $n t$*Due 3*$m un&ve*s&t. $3 1ue'%/
Ti1le+ #$*Due
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Useful Lin8 3, ?n&ve*sa' 1*av&tat&$n 3*$m @&(&%ed&a
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%/reen "ap1ure+
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Useful Lin8 3; 5*$m #/e %/.s&cs !'ass *$$m
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%/reen "ap1ure+
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URL+ http:AAen.wikipedia.orgAwikiA5ravitationalVfield
%/reen "ap1ure+
Des/rip1i0n+ 1*av&tat&$na' 3&e'd, &ts mean&n6 &n c'ass&ca' mec/an&cs, and &ts mean&n6 &n
6ene*a' *e'at&v&t. a*e desc*&bed &n t/&s sect&$n.
Ra1i0nale+ ?se3u' 3$* t/e $ne A/$ needs t$ c$m%a*e man. *e3e*ences.
Useful Lin8 36 1e$stat&$na*. =*b&t
Ti1le+ 1e$stat&$na*. $*b&t
URL+ /tt%B88en.A&(&%ed&a.$*68A&(&81e$stat&$na*.
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Nuclear Physics#
In this module <uclear *hysics! dynamics of a system of particles# rotational
motion and 5ravitation are dealt in detail. The module began with the study of
impulse of a force and its relation with momentum. The impulse force relation is
generali2ed for a system of particle.
In the second activity is the kinematic and dynamic descriptions of rotational
motion were done using new quantities. . It was shown that the equations of
motion that describe linear motion possess a rotational counterpart.
The third activity is on 5ravitation ,p to now we have described various forces
from an entirely empirical point of view. To gain a more unified understanding of
such forces and to achieve greater predictive power# we shall now e)amine two of
the four fundamental forces which are ultimately responsible for all other forces.
Thus in the third activity we discussed the gravitational force which accounts for
the interaction between all astronomical bodies# the motion of the planets and the
moon# the trajectories of space vehicles# the occurrence of the tides# and the
weights of objects.
The fourth activity has illustrated that motion is a relative concept. 1uantities of
motion like position# displacement and velocity are not universal and yet <ewton>s
laws of motion hold in all inertial reference frames. The quantities of motion in
different frames of reference are related by 5alilean Transformation.
;"I( Su**a,i4e E4alua,i)6
!ul,i+le Ch)ice >ues,i)6s
1 .hich one of the following ejects photoelectrons of the highest energy under
optimum condition of irradiation/
(a) ultraviolet radiation
(b) infrared radiation
(c) monochromatic yellow light
(d) gamma rays
2 "ssume that a particle is moving at a speed near that of light. In order to halve
its 3insteins>s 3nergy equivalence# the particle>s speed must be reduced
(a) to Q of its original value
(b) to \ of its original value
(c) to
1 2
of its original value
(d) until its relativistic mass is halved
3 "ntimatter consists of atoms containing
(a) protons# neutrons and electrons
(b) protons# neutrons and positrons
(c) antiprotons# antineutrons and positrons
(d) antiprotons# antineutons and elelctrons
4 " high energy gamm ray may materiali2e into
(a) a meson
(b) an electon and a proton
(c) a proton and a neutron
(d) an electorn and a positron
5 "lpha rays can be detected by fog tracs mad in a
(a) scinitillation counter
(b) 5eiger-(uller tube
(c) .ilson Cloud chamber
(d) nuclear reactor
6 .hich one of the following kinds of rays will usually be produced by
bombardment of a metal target by cathode rays/
(a) alpha rays
(b) cosmic rays
(c) gamma rays
(d) )-rays
7 .hch one of the following is (ost closely related to radiant heat/
(a) )-rays
(b) infra-red light
(c) ultraviolet light
(d) yellow light
8 .hich principle states our inability to measure both momentum and position
simultaneously with unlimited accuracy.
(a) The principe of least square
(b) The principle of uncertainty
(c) The *auli e)clusion principle
(d) The principle of conservation of momentum
9 If
Po emits beta particle electron!# atomic number of the resulting nucleus
will be
(a) I?
(b) IF
(c) IB
(d) I:
10 =f the following# one can not be accelerated in a cyclotron. Identify
(a) deuteron
(b) neutron
(c) electron
(d) triton
11 The energy of an electron in a stationery orbit of hydrogen atom is
(a) positive
(b) negative
(c) 2ero
(d) infinity
12 .hich of the following sources give discrete emission spectrum
(a) candle
(b) mercury vapor lamp
(c) sun
(d) incandescent bulb
13 In the following figure the energy levels of hydrogen atom have been shown
along with some transitions marked "#;#C# & and 3.
C *
The transitions "# ;# and C respectively represent
(a) The series limit of 9yman series# third member of ;almer series and second
member of *aschen series
(b) The series limit of 9yman series# second member of ;almer series and
second member of *aschen series
(c) The ionisation potential of hydrogen# second member of ;almer series and
third member of *aschen series
(d) The first member of 9yman series# third member of ;almer series and
second member of *aschen series
14 .ith reference to the energy level diagram of the above question & and 3
correspond to
(a) "n emission line of 9yman series and absorption at wavelength higher than
the *aschen series respectively
(b) "n emission line of the ;almer series and an emission wavelength longer
than 9yman series limit respectively.
(c) "n absorption line of ;almer series and an emission at a wavelength
shorter than 9yman series limit respectively
(d) The absorption line of ;almer series and ionisation potential of hydrogen
15 .hich of the following statements are true for both @-rays and

(a) They cause ionisation of air when they pass through it
(b) They can be deflected in electric and magnetic fields.
(c) They can be used to detect flaws in metal coatings
(d) They travel with the speed of light
16 The rate of disintegration of a given sample of radionuclides is
10 atomsAs
and half-life is 6BB: years. The number of atoms is
1.44 10
1.4 10
6.57 10
(d) none of these.
17 In a breeder reactor# useful fuel obtained from
U is
P2 (b)
K" (d)
18 The average life

and the decay constant of a radioactive nucleus are

related as
(a) / C
(b) / 1
(c) 0693/
(d) 1
19 "tomic mass number of an element is ?F? and its atomic number is G7. The
end product of this radioactive element is an isotope of lead atomic mass ?7I
and atomic number I?!. The number of alpha and beta particles emitted are
4 and =6
6 and =0
6 and =4
3 and =3

-rays consist of
(a) electromagnetic waves
(b) fast moving electrons
(c) helium nuclei
(d) singly ionised gas atoms
21 3mission of

-rays in a radioactive decay results in a daughter element

showing a
(a) change in charge but not in
(b) change in mass but not in
(c) change in both
(d) change in neither
22 In the reaction represented by
4 4 4
2 2 1
X ) ) K

The decay in
sequence are
, ,
, ,
, ,
, ,
23 The main source of solar energy is
(a) combustion
(b) gravitational contraction
(c) nuclear fusion
(d) nuclear fission
24 The radioactivity of an element becomes 6ADB
of its original value in D7
second. The half value period is
(a) F7s (b) 6:s (c) 67s (d) :s
25 .hen the radioactive isotope
Ra decays in a series by the emission of
three alpha particles and a

-particle. The isotope finally formed is

26 $alf life period of lead is
(a) 6:G7 years
(b) 6:G7days
(c) infinite
(d) 2ero
27 The half life period of a radioactive sample depends upon
(a) nature of substance
(b) pressure
(c) temperature
(d) all of the above
28 " positron is emitted by a radioactive nucleus of atomic number G7. The
product nucleus will have atomic number
(a) G7 (b) G6 (c) IG (d) II
29 .hat is a curie
(a) measurement of electric field
(b) measurement of magnetism
(c) measurement of temperature
(d) measurement of radioactivity
30 .hich of the following is not a mode of radioactive decay
(a) alpha decay
(b) fusion
(c) electron capture
(d) positron emission
31 *articles which can be added to the nucleus of an atom without changing its
chemical properties are called
(a) alpha particles
(b) protons
(c) electrons
(d) neutrons
32 .hat is the mass of 6 curie of
234 14/
. 8.8 10 /

3.7 10 -
2.348 10 -
(c) ?7 days
(d) 3.8 20 days
33 The half life of radioactive radon F.I days. the time at the end of which 6A?7

of the radon sample will remain undecayed is nearly
e 0 4343 log .
(a) 6.D days
(b) 6D.B days
(c) ?7 days
3 8 20day& .
34 The radioactive decay rate of a radioactive element is found to be
disintegrationsAs at a certain time. If the half life of the element is 6 second the
decay rate after one second and three seconds respectively is
(a) 677# 67
10 #
(c) 6?:# :77
(d) :77# 6?:
35 " freshly prepared radioactive source of half-life ? hours emits radiations of
intensity which is DB times the permissible safe level. The minimum time after
which it would be possible to work safely with this source is
(a) 6?I hours
(b) ?B hours
(c) 6? hours
(d) D hours
36 The equation
1 1
X ) e
+ +
(a) fission (b) fusion


37 &uring a negative

(a) "n atomic electron is ejected
(b) "n electron which is already present within the nucleus is ejected
(c) " neutron in the nucleus decays emitting an electron
(d) " part of binding energy of nuclei is converted into an electron
38 .hen
Be is bombarded with

-particle# one of the products of nuclear

transmutations is
C . The other is
n (b)
H (c)
H (d)

39 In the nuclear reaction# given by

4 14 1
De 5
7 2
+ +
( The nucleus @ is
(a) o)ygen of mass 6D
(b) o)ygen of mass 6E
(c) nitrogen of mass 6D
(d) nitrogen of mass 6E
40 The energy released per fission of a
U nucleus is nearly
(a) 200 MeV
(b) 200 (eV
(c) 200 eV
(d) 20 eV
41 If 10% of the radioactive material decay in : days. .hat would be percentage
of amount of original material left after ?7 days/
(a) 55.6% (b) 65.6% (c) 75.6% (d) 85.6%
42 In the nuclear process
11 11
6 5
+ +
# stands for
(a) photon
(b) neutrino
(c) antineutrino
(d) neutron
43 If the nuclei of @ and 4 are fused to form a nucleus of mass ( and some
energy is released# then
(a) :-;=M
(b) :+;KM
(c) :+;LM
(d) :+;=M
44 The nuclei
1 and
5 can be described as
(a) isotones
(b) isotopes of carbon
(c) isobars
(d) isotopes of nitrogen
45 If M is the atomic mass# is mass number# then (M-)8 is called
(a) packing fraction
(b) mass defect
(c) 8ermi energy
(d) binding energy
46 .hen the number of nucleons in nuclei in crease# the binding energy per
(a) 8irst increases and then decreases with increase of mass number
(b) 'emains constant with mass number
(c) &ecreases continuously with mass number
(d) Increases continuously with mass number
47 The average binding energy of a nucleus is
(a) 8"eV (b) 8 MeV (c) 8 (eV (d) 8eV
48 The mass defect for the nucleus of helium is 0.0303 a.m.u. .hat is the
binding energy per nucleon for helium in MeV
(a) 27 (b) 7 (c) 4 (d) d. 1
49 In stable nuclei# the number of neutrons <! is related to the number of J in a
neutral atom in general as
(a) ! Z (b) )=9 (c) )L9 (d) )K9
50 8ission of a nucleus is achieved by bombarding it with
(a) electrons (b) protons (c) neutrons (d) :-rays
51 The more readily fissionable isotope of uranium has an atomic mass of
(a) ?FI (b) ?FD (c) ?F: (d) ?FB
52 The equation ( )
2 26 H He e eV
+ ++ +
+ +
(a) fission
(b) fusion


53 8rom the following equations pick out the possible nuclear fusion reactions.
13 1 14
6 1 6
4.30e- + + C H C
12 1 13
6 1 7
2 + + C H ! e,
14 1 15
) )
7 1 8
5 D E 7.30e-
235 1 140 94 1
92 0 54 38 0
U) n e) Ar)2. n/

+ +
54 Consider a nuclear reaction
200 110 90
) :nergy x A B + If the binding energy per
nucleon for :, and " is 7.4 MeV# 8.2 MeV and 8.2 MeV respectively# what is
the energy released
(a) 90 MeV
(b) 110 MeV
(c) 160 MeV
(d) 200 MeV
55 .hich of the following undergo fission reaction easily by slow moving
235 239
, U P.
239 234
, P Th
238 232
, U Rn
238 206
92 82
U pb
56 " radioactive substance has a half-life of D7 minutes. &uring F hours the
fraction of atom that have decayed would be
(a) 6?.:R
(b) IE.:R
(c) I.:R
(d) ?:.6R
57 The element used for radioactive carbon dating for more than :D77 years is
C (b)
U (c)
U (d)
58 "fter two hours one si)teenth of the starting amount of a certain radioactive
isotope remaine un decayed. The half-life of the isotope is
(a) 6: minutes
(b) F7 minutes
(c) B: minutes
(d) one hour
59 " nucleus ruptures into two nuclear parts which have their velocity ratio equal
to ?:6 what will be the ratio of their nuclear si2e nuclear radius!/
1/ 3
2 +1 (b)
1/ 3
2 +1 (c)
1/ 3
3 +1 (d)
1/ 2
1+ 3
60 " radioactive reaction is
238 206
92 82
U pb . $ow many

- and

-particles are
(a) 67


(b) B protons# I neutron
(c) D electron# I proton
(d) D

and I

61 .hich of the following is the fusion reaction

2 4
2 H He +
1 14 14 1
0 7 6 1
n H C H + +
1 236 239
0 92 93
n U !p

+ + +
3 3
2 H He

+ +
62 .hich of the following statements is true/
"a& 78 ne2,ron& P$
214 210 *
84 82
) P' Pb
238 234 4
92 90 2
U K") De
234 234 4
90 91 2
) T/ Pa He
63 The binding energy of deutron ( )
is 6.66? (e+ per nucleon and an alpha
particle ( )
has a binding energy of E.7EB (e+ per nucleon. Then in the
2 2 4
1 1 2
H H He 0 + + the energy
released is
(a) 6(e+
(b) 66.G (e+
(c) ?F.I (e+
(d) GF6 (e+
64 The half-life of radium is 6D?7 year and its atomic weight is ??D kgAkilomole.
The number of atoms that will decay from its 6g sample per second will be
3.61 10
3.61 10
3.11 10
31.1 10
(e) "vagadro>s number
6.02 10 ! atom Akilomole!s
65 " parent nucleus
P decays into a daughter nucleus & through

in the following way
4 C . The subscript and superscript on the daughter
nucleus & will be written as
4 m
4 m


66 5iven
1.0087, 1.0073, 4.0015
ne.$r'n pr'$'n
m m m

in amu units# 1 amu=931
MeV!. ;inding energy of helium nucleus is
(a) 28.4 MeV
(b) 20.8 MeV
(c) 27.3 MeV
(d) 14.2Mev
67 6Dg of sample of a radioactive element is taken from ;ombay to &elhi in ?
hours and it was found that 6g of the element remained undisintegrated!. $alf
life of element is
(a) ? hours (b) 6 hour (c) 6A? hour (d) \ hour
-rays radiations can be used to create electron positron pair. In this process
of pair production#

-rays energy can not be less than

(a) :.7 (e+
(b) B.7? (e+
(c) 6:.7 (e+
(d) 6.7? (e+
69 The half life of *o is 6B7 days. If 6Dg of *o is present then what is the time
taken for 6g of po to be present
(a) 67 days (b) ?I7
(c) :D7
(d) IB7
70 " radioactive sample has a half life of : day. To decay from I microcurie to
one microcurie# the number of days will be
(a) B7 (b) ?: (c) 6: (d) 67
71 The activity of the radioactive sample decreases to one-third of the original
in a period of G years. "fter G years more# its activity would be
(a) same
72 'adon-??7 will eventually decay to ;ismuth ?6? as
220 216 4
86 84 2
F "al$ l($e =55& Rn P' He +
216 212 4
84 82 2
F "al$ l($e =0.16& P' Pb He +
212 212 0
82 83 1
F "al$ l($e =10.6 "o2r& Pb Bi e

If a certain mass of radon-??7 is allowed to decay in a certain container# after
five minutes the element with the greatest mass will be
(a) 'adon
(b) *olonium
(c) 9ead
(d) ;ismuth
73 .hich is heavy water/
(a) water in which soap does not lather
(b) compound of heavy o)ygen and hydrogen
(c) compound of deuterium and o)ygen
(d) water at
4 C
74 The critical mass of nuclear reaction is
(a) the initial mass to start a nuclear fission
(b) the minimum mass for the chain reaction
(c) the si2e of the reactor core
(d) the si2e of the nuclear fuel P si2e of the moderator
75 Carbon-6B decays with half-life of about :#I77 years. In a sample of bone# the
ratio of carbon-6B to carbon-6? is found to be \ of what it is in free air. This
bone may belong to a period about ) centuries ago# where ) is nearest to
(a) :I
(b) :IA?
(c) 3 58
(d) 2 58
76 " radioactive sample contains
5 atoms and has a half life of one year. Then
the time required for all the atoms to decay is
10 years
(b) one year
(c) 67 years

77 " fast reactor does not use
(a) a coolant
(b) control system
(c) a moderator
(d) nuclear level
78 .hen
U undergoes fission 7.6Rof its original mass is changed into
energy. $ow much energy is released if 6 kg of
U undergoes fission/
9 10 1
9 10 1
9 10 1
9 10 1
79 The half-life of the isotope
Ha is 6: hrs. $ow much time does it take for
of a sample of this isotope to decay/
(a) E: hrs (b) D: hrs (c) :: hrs (d) B: hrs
80 ?77(e+ of energy may be obtained per fission of
U . " reactor is
generating 677 k. of power.
(a) 6777
2 10
(c) 931
1 2
,o ,"a, o$ X X
81 < atoms of a radioactive element emit n alpha particles per second. The half-
life of the element
(a) nA< sec
(b) <An sec
82 The combinations of radioactive emissions will not change the mass number
of radioactive nuclear not change the mass number of radioactive nuclear
(a) alpha and beta decays
(b) alpha and gamma decays
(c) alpha beta and gamma decays
(d) beta and gamma decays
83 Thermal neutrons are incident on a sample of ,ranium containing both
235 235
92 92
and U U . Then
(a) both the isotopes will undergo fission
(b) none of the isotopes will undergo fission
(c) only
U will undergo fission
(d) only
U will under go fusion
84 If
is bombarded with neutron and produce
Al and a proton. .hat will
be 1 value of this reaction/ 5iven mass of
27.98154 Al in amu.
6.79 10 eV

(b) F.6D (e+

(c) D.F? (e+
(d) D.F?e+
85 The activity of a radioactive sample is measured as GE:7 counts per minute at
tK7 and as GE: counts per minute at tK: minute at tK7 and as GE: counts per
minutes. The decay constant is appro)imately in per minute
(a) 7.?F7 (b) 7.BD6 (c) 7.DG6 (d) 7.G??
86 $alf-lives of two radioactive substances " and ; are respectively ?7 minutes
and B7 minutes Initially the sample of " and ; have equal number of nuclei.
"fter I7 minutes the ratio of remaining number of " and ; nuclei is
(a) 6:6D
(b) B:6
(c) 6:B
(d) 6:6
87 Two radioactive materials
1 2
and X X
have decay constants 67 and respectively.
If initially they have the same number of nuclei# then the ratio of the number of nuclei
1 2
,o ,"a, o$ X X
will be 6Ae after a time
(a) 6A67 !
(b) 6A66 !
(c) 66A67 !
(d) 6AG !
A6s/ers ,) F)r*a,i4e E4alua,i)6 0
6. C
?. "
F. "
B. "
:. ;
D. C
E. ;
I. "
G. "
67. C
66. &
6?. &
6F. &
6B. "
6:. C
6D. &
6E. ;
6I. C
6G. &
?7. ;
?6. &
??. &
?F. ;
?B. "
;"II( Re.ere6ces#
This is a compiled list of the references# like standard reference books for the discipline# used in the development of the
module. <ot for the learner do not have to be copyright free! "tleast 67 in "*" style
1. 'aymond ". %erway 6GG?!. *$4%IC% for %cientists ] 3ngineers. ,pdated +ersion.
2. &ouglas &. C. 5iancoli *hysics for scientists and engineers. +ol. ?. *rentice $all.
3. Irving Waplan 6GD?! <uclear *hysics.
4. %ena 9.". 6GII! Collection of 1uestions and *roblems in physics# (ir *ublishers
5. <elkon ] *arker 6GG:! "dvanced 9evel *hysics# Eth 3d# C;% *ublishers ] &itributer#
66# &aryaganji Ne& *elhi +11111:0 India$ IS3N 816:9-614116:$
6. 5odman " and *ayne 3.(.8# 6GI6! 9ongman &ictionary of %cientific ,sage. %econd
impression# I%;< 7 :I? :?:IE @# Commonwealth *rinting press 9td# $ong Wong.
7. ;eiser ".# ?77B! "pplied *hysics# Bth ed.# Tata (c5raw-$ill edition# <ew &elhi# India
8. $alliday &.# 'esnick '.# and .alker L. 6GGE!# 8undamentals of *hysics# :th ed.# Lohn
.iley and %ons
9. Lames =>Connell 6GGI!# Comparison of the 8our 8undamental Interactions of
*hysics# The *hysics Teacher FD# ?E.
;"III( !ai6 Au,h)r ). ,he !)-ule
A9)u, ,he au,h)r ). ,his *)-ule#
Na*e# - Tilahun Tesfaye
Ti,le# &r.
A--ress# &epartment of physics# "ddis "baba ,niversity#
3thiopia# 3ast "frica.
*.=.;o) I7F:G personal!# 66ED Institutional!
3-mail: dttilahun^yahoo.comC ttesfaye^
Tel: P?:6-66-6B6IFDB
Brei. Bi)8ra+hy# The author is currently the chairperson of the department of physics at
"ddis "baba ,niversity. $e has authored school te)tbooks that are in use
all over 3thiopian schools. $is teaching e)perience spans from junior
secondary school physics to postgraduate courses at the university level.
$e also worked as a curriculum development e)pert and 3ducational
materials development panel head at "ddis "baba 3ducation ;ureau.
4ou are always welcome to communicate with the author regarding any question# opinion#
suggestions# etc this module.
;;( File S,ruc,ure
Na*e ). ,he *)-ule %WORD& .ile #
Nuclear PhysicsV1.doc
Na*e ). all ),her .iles %WORDI PDFI PPTI e,c(& .)r ,he *)-ule.
Compulsory readings Nuclear_Physics.pdf
A9s,rac,# 4ectu*e n$tes, &n t/e un&ve*s&t. $3 dd&s baba, b. t/e aut/$* a*e c$m%&'ed &n $ne 705
3&'e. .