Alpha emission is a radioactive process involving two nuclei X and Y, which has the form ... , the helium-4 nucleus being known as an alpha particle. All nuclei heavier than Pb ( ... ) exhibit alpha activity. Geiger and Nuttall (1911) found an empirical relation between the half-life ... of alpha decay and the energy ... of the emitted alpha particles. Using more recent data, the Geiger–Nuttall law can be written ... , where ... is in seconds, ... in MeV, and ... is the atomic number of the daughter nucleus. The observed range of half-lives is huge, varying from ... years for ... to ... sec for ... . We limit our consideration to even-even nuclei. Slightly different values of the parameters pertain when odd ... or ... nuclei are involved. George Gamow in 1928, just two years after the invention of quantum mechanics, proposed that the process involves tunneling of an alpha particle through a large barrier. The barrier is created by the Coulomb repulsion between the alpha particle and the rest of the positively charged nucleus, in addition to breaking the strong nuclear forces acting on the alpha particle. Gurney and Condon independently proposed a similar mechanism. A plot of the nuclear potential also shows the alpha-particle wavefunction ... . The amplitude of the transmitted wave is highly magnified


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