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radcliff's avatar

Could internal conversion or ultrafast internal conversion, be artificially started in humans and create Radioactivity?

Asked by radcliff (253 points ) May 11th, 2012

If this could be done, would you use a geiger counter or DNA testing for radioactivity??
What could this do to human tissue , cells, etc?

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5 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I’m sorry without a better explanation of the terms to which you refer, I could not venture to offer a useful answer. Please clarify!

gasman's avatar

I admit I had to look up the term internal conversion on the internet (here and here) to understand your question. I see that it involves electronic transitions in an atom or molecule, i.e., changes in energy levels of electrons. Every transition – hence all of chemistry – involves the electromagnetic force that is felt by electrons.

Radioactivity, on the other hand, is a nuclear phenomenon in which high-energy particles of radiation are emitted by an unstable atomic nucleus. Radioactivity involves the so-called weak nuclear force, which is confined to the nucleus and felt by protons and neutrons.

One force has nothing to do with the other. Electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces are independent of one another. No chemical reaction can create or destroy the amount of radioactivity in the nuclei. That’s what makes radioactive chemicals so valuable as biological tracers.

In any case you’d use the modern equivalent of a Geiger counter to measure radioactivity: particle detectors feeding data to a computer.

radcliff's avatar

Lets skip the radioactive part of the question.
Could an artificial Melanin stimulater and high intensity UV light and/or heat cause a chain reaction in human cells and lower the excited state of molecules,atoms and create energy?

What could/would this do to human tissue, cells, DNA etc? Thanks!

Nullo's avatar

@radcliff I suppose that you can make just about anything radioactive if you shoot neutrons at it long enough.
If you were to do such a thing to a human, you would see radiation burns.

The_Idler's avatar

You’d get a tan, that is how melanin responds to UV.

Ummm basically all internal conversion is… is when energy ‘stored’ in the electronically excited state of an atom/molecule gets turned into vibrations… heat.

The effect will probably be so small as to be unmeasurable in a human, considering the physiological effects of the experiment.

You might want to try some transition metal complex crystals or clusters… probably some organic molecules would be good to study.

Don’t know why you’d really care to investigate internal conversion so much, unless you are planning on ‘engineering’ your complex cluster to direct the vibrations towards a catalytic purpose… splitting water perhaps? photo-hydrogen-evolving complexes? cool…..

Considering you started off talking about the wrong type of radiation though, I don’t see any problem in stealing your idea and becoming the hero that saved the world/‘s energy crisis!

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