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It decays by emitting alpha particles and gamma radiation to become neptunium-237.Smoke detectors use a very small quantity of Am is used as it emits alpha particles which ionise the air in the detector's ionization chamber.

Radioactive decay is a random process at the level of single atoms: it is impossible to predict when one particular atom will decay.) for that collection can be calculated from their measured decay constants.Radionuclides are present in many homes as they are used inside the most common household smoke detectors.The radionuclide used is americium-241, which is created by bombarding plutonium with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.Prolonged exposure can lead to cells being damaged and in turn lead to cancer.Signs of cancerous cells might not show up until years, or even decades, after exposure." Following is a summary table for the total list of nuclides with half-lives greater than one hour.