nuclear isomerism

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A condition in which atomic nuclei with the same number of neutrons and protons have different lifetimes. This occurs when nuclei exist in different unstable quantum states, from which they decay to lower excited states or to the ground state, with the emission of gamma-ray photons. If the lifetime of a particular excited state is unusually long it is said to be isomeric, although there is no fixed limit separating isomeric decays from normal decays.

Subjects: Physics.

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