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Radiations are important part of our day-to-day lives and there are a plenty of natural sources for radiation from outer space like nuclear power plants, cell phones, or laptops etc. When radiations are set off from the process, it is called the radioactive decay. The radioactive decay process occurs when some original or parent nucleus of an unstable atom decomposes and it forms a different nucleus or we can call it the daughter nucleus too.

The rate at which radioactive decay process happens is measured with the help of half-life that is defined as the total time for the amount of parent nucleus to decay. Every time when the half-life of a radioactive material happens, the total amount of radioactive material will reduce to complete half from its original value.

Radioactive Decay Formula

This is the formula for the calculation of the half-life of a radioactive material in Chemistry –


  • N0 is the initial quantity of the substance
  • N(t) is the remaining quantity that has not yet decayed after a time (t)
  • t1/2 is the half-life of the decaying quantity
  • e is Euler’s number, which equals 2.71828

When the radioactive decay happens, a certain amount of energy is emitted when atom decays to the sub nucleus. Before we actually study the different types of decay, let us first review the atomic masses as superscript that indicates how many protons are neutrons are available within a nucleus.

When the atomic masses are given as a subscript then it indicated the total number of protons within a nucleus. Moving ahead, there are three types of radioactive decays like Alpha, Beta and gamma. We will discuss about each of them in our later blogs.