The first thing we are going to do before entering fully into the establishment of the meaning of the term alpha rays, is to know the etymological origin of the two words that shape it. So, you have to know this:
-The word lightning derives from Latin, specifically "radius", which was used with two meanings: "rod" and "lightning."
-The word alpha, on the other hand, comes from the Greek. Exactly we can determine that it emanates from "alpha", which is the name of the first letter of the alphabet of that language.
There are various kinds of Ray (energy lines that originate at a point and propagate with a certain sense). We can talk, as appropriate, of Light rays , X-rays , gamma rays or infrared rays , to cite some possibilities. Today we will focus on alpha rays .
The term is used, by extension, to name the beginning of something. It is known as alpha particle to the nucleus fully ionized from helium , which originates from certain nuclear reactions or from disintegration.
These nuclei are composed of two neutrons and two protons: they do not have, therefore, electrons Let them wrap them up. Due to this characteristic, alpha particles have a mass of 4 uma and positive charge.
The alpha rays constitute the radiation of this class of particles. Unlike other rays mentioned above, they have a very low penetration capacity since their dough and their load lead them to engage with other molecules.
This means that alpha rays can stop with some papers and are not in a position to pass through the skin . Given this low penetration power, alpha rays are not too dangerous: this situation, however, changes if the particles that are responsible for radioactive emission are already inside the body.
Smoke detection and energy supply of batteries and various equipment are some of the uses of alpha rays.
In addition to all of the above, it is worth knowing other interesting data related to alpha rays, among which these stand out:
-As a general rule, they take center stage and appear both in what is a nuclear reaction and in the processes of radioactive decay of nuclides, in which they are transmuted into other elements that have the particularity of being much lighter.
-The essence, functionality and existence of these rays was demonstrated scientifically in the early twentieth century. Specifically, it is considered that the author of that action was Rutherford, in 1909.
-When talking about alpha rays, reference is always also made to beta rays. However, they are different because the latter have the particularity that they have a greater penetration power.
-In the same way, we must not overlook the existence of gamma rays. These, on the other hand, are identified because in this kind of radiation there is no loss of identity by the nucleus.