Ionizing Radiation

A particle or a photon with enough energy to knock off an electron from an atom, thus making it more reactive.

There are four basic types of ionizing radiation:

  1. alpha particles - helium nuclei
  2. beta particles - electrons
  3. neutrons - neutrons are not themselves ionizing but their collisions with nuclei lead to the ejection of other charged particles that do cause ionization.
  4. gamma rays - note that x-rays, are generally identical to gamma rays except for their place of origin.

See also: Ionization Energy, Non-Ionizing Radiation, Radionuclide.

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Subjects: Chemistry Physics