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Conversion electron

A conversion electron is an electron which results from interactions with metastable atomic nuclei, which results from radioactive decay processes. A metastable nucleus can transfer its energy to an electron that has a certain probability of being in the nucleus. If this happens, the electron becomes a free electron with a kinetic energy equal to the energy of the metastable state minus the binding energy of the electron. This electron is called a conversion electron. Because of its proximity to the nucleus, the conversion electron usually comes from the K shell. The hole in the electron shell is filled by electrons from other shells thus producing a characteristic X-ray peak. The x-ray may then reproduce the effect and cause the emission of an Auger electron.

Competition with gamma decay

Conversion occurs for the same nuclear decays partly as gamma decay, which hence competes with that process.


In the decay of the nucleus of 125I, 7% of the decays emit energy as a gamma ray, while 93% release energy as conversion electrons.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Conversion_electron". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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