Decay energy (also decay heat ) is the energy that is released during the radioactive decay of an unstable atomic nucleus. It is transferred as kinetic energy to the decay products and the daughter nucleus, emitted in the form of radiation or stored as excitation energy in the electron shell of the remaining core. The easiest way to measure and usually tabulated is the energy of the emitted alpha, beta or gamma particles. If caloric tests employed, but also the energy of the recoil nuclei and the energy of any subsequent reactions (eg, electron-positron annihilation by β decay or neutron capture by the emission of neutrons) must be considered.
Part of the decay energy can be transferred to particles that are difficult to prove. So during beta decay one electron antineutrino is produced that accepts a variable portion of the kinetic energy.
The decay energy is usually measured in mega electron volts ( MeV) or kilo electron volts ( keV). Electron volts (eV) is the energy absorbed by an electron as it passes through an electric field voltage of 1 volt. It corresponds to about 1.6 × 10-19 J.
- Nuclear Chemistry
- Nuclear physics