Physics is a beautiful subject that lets us understand the behaviour and interactions of matter and energy. Radioactivity is one of the spectacular scientific phenomena explained in physics. It is a phenomenon in which unstable atoms emit particles that produce radiation. The particles emitted are called radioactive particles. The word “radioactivity” is derived from the Latin word “radius”, which means ray or beam. It was coined by Henri Becquerel in 1896, who discovered a natural form of radiation emanating from uranium salts.

Many particles are studied under radioactivity. Antimatter, electron, proton, alpha particles, and neutrino. Let us know about antimatter and neutrino in brief.

 

Particles of Radioactivity

The particles that are studied under radioactivity are antimatter, proton, electron, alpha particles, and neutrinos.

1) Antimatter: It is a mirror image of ordinary matter with the same mass but opposite charge. When antimatter comes in contact with ordinary matter, both are annihilated to produce energy in the form of gamma rays.

2) Proton: The proton is an elementary particle that carries a positive electric charge and is found in the nucleus of every atom. In everyday life, it can be found as hydrogen gas or deuterium gas, and it’s also the most common type of matter.

3) Electron: The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative electric charge, and it is the smallest charged particle in an atom. It exists in shells around the nucleus, occupying different energy levels according to its distance from the nucleus, which means that electrons are organised into patterns called orbitals.

4) Alpha particles: Alpha particles are helium nuclei stripped of two protons and two neutrons.

 

What are Antimatter and Neutrinos?

Antimatter is the opposite of ordinary matter. It is composed of antiparticles which are opposites to particles. Antimatter is not found naturally on earth, but it can be created in high-energy particle collisions. It has the same mass as its corresponding particle but an opposite charge and spin. The first form of antimatter ever observed was antihydrogen, made in 1995 at CERN by a team led by Nobel laureate Dr. Samuel Ting. Antimatter is not found naturally on earth, but it can be created in high-energy particle collisions. Antimatter has the same mass as its corresponding particle but an opposite charge and spin.

Neutrinos are subatomic particles that are emitted by the sun and other stars. They were first discovered in the year 1930 by a scientist named Wolfgang Pauli. He was trying to find out why energy was not being released from radioactive decay as expected. He discovered that neutrinos were not making it to earth because they travelled faster than the speed of light and could not be detected with equipment at that time. Neutrinos are a form of radiation, but they are so small that the majority cannot be seen, even with modern technology. They go through all matter, and the earth acts as a barrier. This is why they did not detect them until 1930 because they were not emitting any light or other particles that could be detected by instruments.