# Radioactive Decay as a Probability Distribution

Radioactive Decay as a Probability Distribution

Radioactive decay is often described in terms of a probability distribution, since one cannot predict when an individual atom will decay. The probability that particles will disintegrate in the time interval is given by

n

Δt

ω=(2NλΔt)exp-(n-NλΔt)

1

π

0

-3/2

0

2

where is the initial number of nuclei present and is the decay constant characteristic of the radioactive isotope.

N

0

λ