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Americium | by topquark22
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Americium

Most smoke detectors use a small pellet of americium-241 (atomic number 95), used to ionize the air to detect smoke particles.

 

Americium-241 is a synthetic, radioactive heavy isotope with a half-life of 432.2 years. It decays via alpha emission and spontaneous fission. This means that, after 25 years, about 4% of the original americium in your smoke detector has transmuted into neptunium-237 and other lighter elements.

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Taken on June 28, 2009