In gamma decay, depicted in Fig. 3-6, a nucleus changes from a higher energy state to a lower energy state through the emission of electromagnetic radiation (photons). The number of protons (and neutrons) in the nucleus does not change in this process, so the parent and daughter atoms are the same chemical element. In the gamma decay of a nucleus, the emitted photon and recoiling nucleus each have a well-defined energy after the decay. The characteristic energy is divided between only two particles.