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You should still get a gamma signature from the nuclear decay.

There are off-the-shelf detectors that can split a gamma signal into energy channels, so unless that signature is smack, dab in the middle of the potassium decay channel, you should be able to tell it from background easily enough.

- Jake

If you only spend 20 minutes of the rest of your life on economics, go spend them here.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 01:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't need a gamma ray because the entire energy could be carried away as kinetic energy by the electron and antineutrino. It's beta decay, not gamma decay!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 02:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the beta decay, yes. But after the beta decay the nucleus will be in an excited state because something that used to be a neutron is now a proton.

It would be quite extraordinary for you to find that replacing a neutron with a proton would not move the minimum energy configuration of the nucleus. And the transition to that new minimum energy configuration would most likely be accompanied by a gamma fingerprint, courtesy of the strong nuclear force.

- Jake

If you only spend 20 minutes of the rest of your life on economics, go spend them here.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 04:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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