Consider this reaction of alpha decay:

$$ \ce{^{222}_{88}Ra -> ^{218}_{86}Rn + ^4_2 He} $$

My question is, whether or not the electrons also get distributed in the reaction like the nucleons?


1 Answer 1


The equation for the $\alpha$-decay omits the charges.

Since the $\alpha$-particle actually is $\ce{^4_2He^{2+}}$, the resulting nucleus is initially left with a surplus of two electrons. These are emitted too, probably on the same timescale.

So, the answer is yes: the $\alpha$-decay of a neutral nucleus yields another neutral nucleus, a double-positively charged $\alpha$-particle and two electrons.


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