Radiometric dating, often called radioactive dating, is a technique used to determine the age of materials such as rocks.
Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead-212 (212Pb) to lead-208 (208Pb) .
Each parent nuclide spontaneously decays into a daughter nuclide (the decay product) via an α decay or a β decay.
This chain eventually ends with the formation of a stable, nonradioactive daughter nuclide.
Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.
The black bar is one angstrom ( Atoms are small enough that attempting to predict their behavior using classical physics - as if they were billiard balls, for example - gives noticeably incorrect predictions due to quantum effects.