What is the purpose of radioactive dating
Over 60 further radionuclides are detectable in nature, either as daughters of these, or through natural production on Earth by cosmic radiation.
Radionuclides occur naturally and are artificially produced in nuclear reactors, cyclotrons, particle accelerators or radionuclide generators.This technique relies on the property of half-life.Half-life is defined as the time it takes for one half of a radioactive element to decay into a daughter isotope.The half-lives of several radioactive isotopes are known and are used often to figure out the age of newly found fossils.Different isotopes have different half-lives and sometimes more than one present isotope can be used to get an even more specific age of a fossil.There are about 730 radionuclides with half-lives longer than 60 minutes (see list of nuclides).
With the longest half lives are the 32 primordial radionuclides that have survived from the creation of the Solar System.
A radionuclide (radioactive nuclide, radioisotope or radioactive isotope) is an atom that has excess nuclear energy, making it unstable.
This excess energy can be either emitted from the nucleus as gamma radiation, or create and emit from the nucleus a new particle (alpha particle or beta particle), or transfer this excess energy to one of its electrons, causing that electron to be ejected as a conversion electron.
The only way that this can happen is by changing the number of protons in the nucleus (an element is defined by its number of protons).
There are a number of ways that this can happen and when it does, the atom is forever changed.
There is no going back – the process is irreversible. When we pour our popcorn kernels into a popcorn popper, the is no way to know which will pop first.