Another way of expressing this is the half-life period (given the symbol T).

The half-life is the time it takes for half of the parent atoms to decay.

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Radioactive decay is a natural process and comes from the atomic nucleus becoming unstable and releasing bits and pieces.

These are released as radioactive particles (there are many types).

those that form during chemical reactions without breaking down).

The unstable or more commonly known radioactive isotopes break down by radioactive decay into other isotopes.

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Some techniques place the sample in a nuclear reactor first to excite the isotopes present, then measure these isotopes using a mass spectrometer (such as in the argon-argon scheme).

Others place mineral grains under a special microscope, firing a laser beam at the grains which ionises the mineral and releases the isotopes.

This decay process leads to a more balanced nucleus and when the number of protons and neutrons balance, the atom becomes stable.