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Physics > Alpha Beta and Gamma Properties

The following table shows a summary of the properties of alpha, beta and gamma radiation.

  Alpha-particle Beta-particle Gamma-ray
Nature Helium nucleus (positive particle) approximately 7000x the mass of an electron Negative electron Electromagnetic waves with very short wavelength
Penetration Stopped by paper or 6cm of air Stopped by 3mm aluminium Reduced but not stopped by lead
Affected by electric and magnetic fields? Yes Yes, strongly bent by fields No
Causes ionisation? Strongly Weakly Very weakly
Speed 10% of speed of light 50% of speed of light Speed of light
Detected by Cloud chamber, Spark counter, Photographic film/plates, Gold leaf electroscope, Thin window GM tube   Photographic film/plates, Cloud chamber, GM tube Photographic film/plates, Cloud chamber, GM tube