Definition of Parent Atom

Definition: A parent atom refers to the atom that undergoes radioactive decay in a nuclear reaction.

Also Known As: parent isotope

Examples: When U-238 decays into Th-234, the parent atom is U-238.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Definition of Parent Atom." ThoughtCo, Jun. 23, 2014, thoughtco.com/definition-of-parent-atom-605475. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2014, June 23). Definition of Parent Atom. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-parent-atom-605475 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Definition of Parent Atom." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-parent-atom-605475 (accessed May 20, 2018).