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This type of emission usually accompanies other decays, such as alpha or beta decay.
Gamma rays are emitted because when the nucleus undergoes alpha or beta decay, the nucleus is all shaken up and needs to release energy.
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This conversion results in a beta particle--either an electron or positron--to be emitted, accompanied by either an electron antineutrino (a subatomic particle that is electrically neutral) or electron neutrino.
There are two types of beta decay, beta minus decay and beta plus decay.
Radioactive decay occurs when the original nucleus, or parent nucleus, of an unstable atom decomposes and forms a different nucleus, or the daughter nucleus.The rate at which radioactive decay occurs is measured using half-life, which is the time it takes for half the amount of the parent nucleus to decay.Each time the half-life of a radioactive material occurs, the amount of the radioactive material decreases to half of the original value.Beta minus decay occurs when a neutron turns into a proton.This causes an electron, accompanied by an electron antineutrino, to be emitted.
The illustration shows the two possible symbols of a positron, as well as a positron emission reaction with carbon (C) decaying to boron (B): The atomic masses (11 = 11) and atomic numbers (6 = 5 1) are balanced.