Thanks to a dark matter detector, an international team of scientists from the XENON Collaboration team has been able to testify to the "most rare event that has been reported": the radioactive decomposition of the xenon-124 isotope, according to a new study published Wednesday by Natural Magazine.
The decomposition of xenon-124 is extremely slow. The researchers found that this isotope has a half-life of 18 sisters years: That is, 18 followed by 21 zeros. This means a process billions of times longer than the age of the universe.
The term half-life refers to the time required for half of the atomic nuclei of the isotope sample to spontaneously change through one of the many types of radioactive decays that exist. Often, this involves "spitting" or engaging protons, neutrons, and electrons in different combinations.
"Rare work multiplied by other rare work"
In this case, XENON Collaboration team managed to observe what experts call double electron recording: two protons of a xenon atom simultaneously absorb two electrons, resulting in two neutrons. For researchers it is "a rare thing multiplied by something strange, which." it makes it ultra-strange"
"We saw that this decay really happened. a longer and slower process which is observed directly, and our dark matter detector [el denominado XENON1T] He was sensitive enough to measure it, "said Ethan Brown, senior physicist at the Rensler Institute of Polytechnic (New York) and one of the authors of the study.
"It's unbelievable to be a witness to this process, which means that our detector is able to measure the richest event ever recorded," the scientists added.
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