Aluminium-26 , 26Al, is a radioactive isotope of the chemical element aluminium, decaying by either of the modes beta-plus or electron capture, both resulting in the stable nuclide magnesium-26. The half-life of 26Al is 7.17×105 years. This is far too short for the isotope to survive to the present, but a small amount of the nuclide is produced by collisions of argon atoms with cosmic ray protons.
Aluminium-26 also emits gamma rays and X-rays. The x-rays and Auger electrons are emitted by the excited atomic shell of the daughter 26Mg after the electron capture which typically leaves a hole in one of the lower sub-shells.
Because it is radioactive it should be stored behind at least 5 cm (2 in) of lead and special tools should be used for transfer, use, and storage. Contact with 26Al may result in radiological contamination.
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