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nucleon emission


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A decay mechanism in which a particularly unstable nuclide regains some stability by the emission of a nucleon (i.e. a proton or neutron). Proton emitters have fewer neutrons than their stable isotopes. Proton emitters are therefore found below the Segrè plot stability line. For example, 17Ne (neon–17) has three fewer neutrons than its most abundant stable isotope 20Ne (neon–20). There are no naturally occurring proton emitters. Neutron emitters have many more neutrons than their stable isotopes. For this reason, emitters may be found above the stability line on the Segrè plot and in most cases can also decay by negative beta decay. There are no naturally occurring neutron emitters. They are usually produced in nuclear reactors by the negative beta decay of fission products. An example of a neutron emitter is 99Y (yttrium–99), which has 10 more neutrons than the stable isotope 89Y (yttrium–89).


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