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What are the different types of decay modes in nuclear physics?

There are several types of decay modes in nuclear physics, including alpha, beta, gamma, and neutron decay.

Alpha decay occurs when an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle, which is made up of two protons and two neutrons. This reduces the atomic number by two and the mass number by four.

Beta decay occurs when a neutron in the nucleus decays into a proton and an electron, with the electron being emitted as a beta particle. This increases the atomic number by one and does not change the mass number.

Gamma decay occurs when an excited nucleus releases energy in the form of gamma rays, which are high-energy photons. This does not change the atomic or mass number.

Neutron decay occurs when a neutron in the nucleus decays into a proton, electron, and anti-neutrino. This increases the atomic number by one and does not change the mass number.

Each type of decay mode has its own unique characteristics and can be used to study different aspects of nuclear physics. Understanding these decay modes is important for applications such as nuclear energy and medicine.

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