Ramayya, Akunuri V. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Hwang, Jae-Kwang Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Electromagnetic radiation
- Constituents of the atom
- Wave-particle duality
- Photoelectric effect
- Fermions and Bosons
- Angular momentum of the photon
- Annihilation of matter
- Pair Creation
- Other sources of gamma rays
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Highly energetic electromagnetic (EM) radiation that is emitted, for example, when a nucleus decays from a state of higher energy to a state of lower energy or the ground state. The energies of these rays range from a few kiloelectronvolts [(keV), where the prefix kilo (k) means 103] to several hundreds of megaelectronvolts [(MeV), where the prefix mega (M) means 106] and higher. They have properties similar to that of ordinary light. They are also produced in nuclear reactions, fission and fusion processes, and collisions of galaxies. They are widely used in nuclear structure studies, nuclear medicine, and gamma-ray astronomy. Intense exposure to gamma (γ) radiation may cause cancer. See also: Electronvolt; Galaxy formation and evolution; Gamma-ray astronomy; Metric system; Nuclear fission; Nuclear fusion; Nuclear medicine; Nuclear reaction; Nuclear structure; Oncology
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