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Isotopes are any of the different forms of an element each having different atomic mass (mass number). Isotopes of an element have nuclei with the same number of protons (the same atomic number) but different numbers of neutrons. Therefore, isotopes have different mass numbers, which give the total number of nucleons—the number of protons plus neutrons. Isotope can also refer to; Isotope (artist) is a drumnbass artist from California, USA. Albuquerque Isotopes, a minor league baseball team. ... The periodic table of the chemical elements A chemical element, or element, is a type of atom that is distinguished by its atomic number; that is, by the number of protons in its nucleus. ... The mass number (A), also called atomic mass number (not to be confused with atomic number (Z) which denotes the number of protons in a nucleus) or nucleon number, is the number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) in an atomic nucleus. ... The nucleus of an atom is the very small dense region, of positive charge, in its centre consisting of nucleons (protons and neutrons). ... For alternative meanings see proton (disambiguation). ... See also: List of elements by atomic number In chemistry and physics, the atomic number (also known as the proton number) is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The mass number (A), also called atomic mass number (not to be confused with atomic number (Z) which denotes the number of protons in a nucleus) or nucleon number, is the number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) in an atomic nucleus. ... Nucleon is the common name used in nuclear chemistry to refer to a neutron or a proton, the components of an atoms nucleus. ...

A nuclide is any particular atomic nucleus with a specific atomic number Z and mass number A; it is equivalently an atomic nucleus with a specific number of protons and neutrons. Collectively, all the isotopes of all the elements form the set of nuclides. The distinction between the terms isotope and nuclide has somewhat blurred, and they are often used interchangeably. Isotope is best used when referring to several different nuclides of the same element; nuclide is more generic and is used when referencing only one nucleus or several nuclei of different elements. For example, it is more correct to say that an element such as fluorine consists of one stable nuclide rather than that it has one stable isotope. A nuclide (from lat. ... Distinguished from fluorene and fluorone. ...

In IUPAC nomenclature, isotopes and nuclides are specified by the name of the particular element, implicitly giving the atomic number, followed by a hyphen and the mass number (e.g. helium-3, carbon-12, carbon-13, iodine-131 and uranium-238). In symbolic form, the number of nucleons is denoted as a superscripted prefix to the chemical symbol (e.g. 3He, 12C, 13C, 131I and 238U). IUPAC nomenclature is a system of naming chemical compounds and of describing the science of chemistry in general. ... Helium-3 is a non-radioactive and light isotope of helium. ... Carbon 12 is a stable isotope of the element carbon. ... Carbon-13 is a stable isotope of carbon. ... Iodine-131 (131I), also called radioiodine, is a radioisotope of iodine which has medical and pharmaceutical uses. ... There are two objects with this name: Unterseeboot 238 Uranium-238, the most common isotope of uranium This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... This article is about the term superscript as used in typography. ... A chemical symbol is an abbreviation or short representation of the name of a chemical element. ...

About 339 nuclides occur naturally on Earth, of which about 79% are stable.[1] Counting the radioactive nuclides not found in nature that have been created artificially, more than 3100 nuclides are currently known.[2]


History of the term

In the bottom right corner of JJ Thomson's photographic plate are markings for the two isotopes of neon: neon-20 and neon-22.
In the bottom right corner of JJ Thomson's photographic plate are markings for the two isotopes of neon: neon-20 and neon-22.

The term isotope was coined in 1913 by Margaret Todd, a Scottish doctor, during a conversation with Frederick Soddy (to whom she was distantly related by marriage).[3] Soddy, a chemist at Glasgow University, explained that it appeared from his investigations as if several elements occupied each position in the periodic table. Hence Todd suggested the Greek term for "at the same place" as a suitable name. Soddy adopted the term and went on to win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1921 for his work on radioactive substances. Image File history File links Discovery_of_neon_isotopes. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Isotope. ... Frederick Soddy in 1922. ... The Periodic Table redirects here. ...

Soddy's use of the word isotope was initially with regard to radioactive (unstable) atoms. However, in 1913, as part of his exploration into the composition of canal rays, JJ Thomson channeled a stream of ionized neon through a magnetic and an electric field and measured its deflection by placing a photographic plate in its path. Thomson observed two patches of light on the photographic plate (see image on right), which suggested two different parabolas of deflection. This was the first observation of different stable isotopes for an element. Thomson eventually concluded that some of the atoms in the neon gas were of higher mass than the rest. Anode rays (or Canal rays) were observed in experiments by a German scientist, Eugen Goldstein, in 1886. ... ...

Variation in properties between isotopes

Chemical and atomic properties

A neutral atom has the same number of electrons as protons. Thus, different isotopes of a given element all have the same number of protons and electrons and the same electronic structure, and because the chemical behavior of an atom is largely determined by its electronic structure, different isotopes exhibit nearly identical chemical behavior. The main exception to this is the kinetic isotope effect: due to their larger masses, heavier isotopes tend to react somewhat more slowly than lighter isotopes of the same element. This is most pronounced for protium (1H) vis-à-vis deuterium (2H), because deuterium has twice the mass of protium. The mass effect between deuterium and the relatively light protium also affects the behavior of their respective chemical bonds, by means of changing the center of gravity (reduced mass) of the atomic systems. However, for heavier elements, the absolute mass of nucleus relative to electrons if far more, and the relative mass difference between isotopes is much less, and thus the mass-difference effects on chemistry are usually negligible. The kinetic isotope effect (KIE) is a variation in the reaction rate of a chemical reaction when an atom in one of the reactants is replaced by one of its isotopes. ... A hydrogen atom is an atom of the element hydrogen. ... Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ... Reduced mass is an algebraic term of the form that simplifies an equation of the form The reduced mass is typically used as a relationship between two system elements in parallel, such as resistors; whether these be in the electrical, thermal, hydraulic, or mechanical domains. ...

Isotope half lifes. Note that the darker more stable isotope region departs from the line of protons Z = neutrons N, as the element number Z becomes larger
Isotope half lifes. Note that the darker more stable isotope region departs from the line of protons Z = neutrons N, as the element number Z becomes larger

Similarly, two molecules which differ only in the isotopic nature of their atoms (isotopologues) will have identical electronic structure and therefore almost indistinguishable physical and chemical properties (again with deuterium providing the primary exception to this rule). The vibrational modes of a molecule are determined by its shape and by the masses of its constituent atoms. Consequently, isotopologues will have different sets of vibrational modes. Since vibrational modes allow a molecule to absorb photons of corresponding energies, isotopologues have different optical properties in the infrared range. In science, a molecule is the smallest particle of a pure chemical substance that still retains its chemical composition and properties. ... Isotopologues are species that differ only in the isotopic composition of their molecules or ions. ... In modern physics the photon is the elementary particle responsible for electromagnetic phenomena. ... For other uses, see Infrared (disambiguation). ...

Nuclear properties and stability

Atomic nuclei consist of protons and neutrons bound together by the strong nuclear force. Because protons are positively charged, they repel each other. Neutrons, which are electrically neutral, allow some separation between the positively charged protons, reducing the electrostatic repulsion. Neutrons also stabilize the nucleus because at short ranges they attract each other and protons equally by the strong nuclear force, and this extra binding force also offsets the electrical repulsion between protons. For this reason, one or more neutrons are necessary for two or more protons to be bound into a nucleus. As the number of protons increases, an increasing ratio of neutrons are needed to form a stable nucleus (see graph at right). For example, although the neutron:proton ratio of 3He is 1:2, the neutron:proton ratio of 238U is greater than 3:2. As a rule, there is, for each atomic number (each element) only a handful of stable isotopes, the average being 3.4 stable isotopes per element which has any stable isotopes. Sixteen elements have only a single stable isotope, while the largest number of stable isotopes observed for any element is the ten tin has. The strong nuclear force or strong interaction (also called color force or colour force) is a fundamental force of nature which affects only quarks and antiquarks, and is mediated by gluons in a similar fashion to how the electromagnetic force is mediated by photons. ... The strong nuclear force or strong interaction (also called color force or colour force) is a fundamental force of nature which affects only quarks and antiquarks, and is mediated by gluons in a similar fashion to how the electromagnetic force is mediated by photons. ... This article is about the metallic chemical element. ...

Although isotopes exhibit nearly identical electronic and chemical behavior, their nuclear behavior varies dramatically. Adding neutrons to isotopes can vary their nuclear spins and nuclear shapes, causing differences in neutron capture cross-sections and gamma spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance properties. The process of neutron capture can proceed in two ways - as a rapid process (an r-process) or a slow process (an s-process). ... Gamma spectroscopy is a radiochemistry measurement method that determines the energy and count rate of gamma rays emitted by radioactive substances. ... NMR redirects here. ...

If too many or too few neutrons are present with regard to the optimum ratio, the nucleus becomes unstable and subject to certain types of nuclear decay. Unstable isotopes with a non-optimal number of neutrons decay by alpha decay, beta decay, or other exotic means, such as spontaneous fission and cluster decay. Radioactive decay is the set of various processes by which unstable atomic nuclei (nuclides) emit subatomic particles. ... Alpha decay Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atom emits an alpha particle (two protons and two neutrons bound together into a particle identical to a helium nucleus) and transforms (or decays) into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2... In nuclear physics, beta decay (sometimes called neutron decay) is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle (an electron or a positron) is emitted. ... Spontaneous fission (SF) is a form of radioactive decay characteristic of very heavy isotopes, and is theoretically possible for any atomic nucleus whose mass is greater than or equal to 100 amu (elements near ruthenium). ... Cluster decay is the nuclear process in which a radioactive atom emits a cluster of neutrons and protons. ...

Occurrence in nature

Elements are composed of one or more naturally occurring isotopes, which are normally stable. Some elements have unstable (radioactive) isotopes, either because their decay is so slow that a fraction still remains since they were created (examples: uranium, potassium), or because they are continually created through cosmic radiation (tritium, carbon-14) or by decay from an isotope in the first category (radium, radon).

Only 80 elements have stable isotopes, and 16 of these have only one stable isotope. Most elements occur naturally on Earth in multiple stable isotopes, with the largest number of stable isotopes for an element being ten, for tin (element number 50). There are about 94 elements found naturally on Earth (up to plutonium, element 94, inclusive), though some are detected only in very tiny amounts, such as plutonium-244. Lindsay [1] estimates that the elements which occur naturally on Earth (some only as radioisotopes) occur as 339 isotopes (nuclides) in total. Only 269 of these naturally-occurring isotopes are stable (all known stable isotopes occur naturally on Earth); the other 70 naturally-occurring isotopes are radioactive, but occur on Earth due to their relatively long half-lives, or from other means of natural production. An additional ~ 2700 radioactive isotopes not found in nature have been created in nuclear reactors and in particle accelerators. Many short-lived isotopes not found naturally on Earth have also been observed by spectroscopic analysis, being naturally created in stars or supernovae. An example is aluminum-26, which is not naturally found on Earth, but which is found in abundance on an astronomical scale. This article is about the metallic chemical element. ...

The tabulated atomic masses of elements are averages that account for the presence of multiple isotopes with different masses. A good example is chlorine, having the composition 35Cl, 75.8%, and 37Cl, 24.2%, giving an atomic mass of 35.5. Values like this confounded scientists before the discovery of isotopes, as most light element atomic masses are close to integer multiples of hydrogen. General Name, symbol, number chlorine, Cl, 17 Chemical series nonmetals Group, period, block 17, 3, p Appearance yellowish green Standard atomic weight 35. ...

According to generally accepted cosmology only isotopes of hydrogen and helium, and traces of some isotopes of lithium, beryllium and boron were created at the Big Bang, while all other isotopes were synthesized later, in stars and supernovae, and in interactions between energetic particles such as cosmic rays, and previously-produced isotopes. (See nucleosynthesis for details of the various processes thought to be responsible for isotope production.) The respective abundances of isotopes on Earth result from the quantities formed by these processes, their spread through the galaxy, and the rates of decay for isotopes that are unstable. After the initial coalescence of the solar system, isotopes were redistributed according to mass, and the isotopic composition of elements varies slightly from planet to planet. This sometimes makes it possible to trace the origin of meteorites. This article is about the physics subject. ... For other uses, see Big Bang (disambiguation). ... Nucleosynthesis is the process of creating new atomic nuclei from preexisting nucleons (protons and neutrons). ...

Molecular mass of isotopes

The molecular mass (Mr) of an element is determined by its nucleons. For example, Carbon-12 (12C) has 6 Protons and 6 Neutrons. When a sample contains two isotopes the equation below is applied where Mr(1) and Mr(2) are the molecular masses of each individual isotope, and % abundance is the percentage abundance of that isotope in the sample. For alternative meanings see proton (disambiguation). ... Properties In physics, the neutron is a subatomic particle with no net electric charge and a mass of 940 MeV/c² (1. ...

M_r = frac{M_r(1)*%abundance+M_r(2)*%abundance}{100}.

Applications of isotopes

Several applications exist that capitalize on properties of the various isotopes of a given element.

Use of chemical and biological properties

  • Isotope analysis is the determination of isotopic signature, the relative abundances of isotopes of a given element in a particular sample. For biogenic substances in particular, significant variations of isotopes of C, N and O can occur. Analysis of such variations has a wide range of applications, such as the detection of adulteration of food products.[4] The identification of certain meteorites as having originated on Mars is based in part upon the isotopic signature of trace gases contained in them.[5]
  • Another common application is isotopic labeling, the use of unusual isotopes as tracers or markers in chemical reactions. Normally, atoms of a given element are indistinguishable from each other. However, by using isotopes of different masses, they can be distinguished by mass spectrometry or infrared spectroscopy (see "Properties"). For example, in 'stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)' stable isotopes are used to quantify proteins. If radioactive isotopes are used, they can be detected by the radiation they emit (this is called radioisotopic labeling).
  • A technique similar to radioisotopic labelling is radiometric dating: using the known half-life of an unstable element, one can calculate the amount of time that has elapsed since a known level of isotope existed. The most widely known example is radiocarbon dating used to determine the age of carbonaceous materials.

The distribution of stable isotopes and certain elements within a food web make it possible to draw direct inferences regarding diet, trophic level, and subsistence. ... An isotopic signature (also isotopic fingerprint) is a ratio of stable or unstable isotopes of particular elements found in an investigated material. ... A biogenic substance is a substance produced by life processes. ... A Martian meteorite is a meteorite, that has landed on Earth but is believed to have originated from Mars. ... Adjectives: Martian Atmosphere Surface pressure: 0. ... Isotopic labeling is a technique for tracking the passage of a sample of substance through a system. ... Mass spectrometry (previously called mass spectroscopy (deprecated) or informally, mass-spec and MS) is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of ions. ... Infrared spectroscopy (IR spectroscopy) is the subset of spectroscopy that deals with the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. ... The principle of SILAC. Cells differentially labeled by growing them in light medium with normal arginine (Arg-0, grey colour) or medium with heavy arginine (Arg-6, red colour). ... A representation of the 3D structure of myoglobin showing coloured alpha helices. ... Radiometric dating (often called radioactive dating) is a technique used to date materials, based on a comparison between the observed abundance of particular naturally occurring radioactive isotopes and their known decay rates. ... Half-Life For a quantity subject to exponential decay, the half-life is the time required for the quantity to fall to half of its initial value. ... Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring isotope carbon-14 (14C) to determine the age of carbonaceous materials up to about 60,000 years. ... The kinetic isotope effect (KIE) is a variation in the reaction rate of a chemical reaction when an atom in one of the reactants is replaced by one of its isotopes. ...

Use of nuclear properties

  • Several forms of spectroscopy rely on the unique nuclear properties of specific isotopes. For example, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be used only for isotopes with a nonzero nuclear spin. The most common isotopes used with NMR spectroscopy are 1H, 2D,15N, 13C, and 31P.
  • Radionuclides also have important uses. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons development require relatively large quantities of specific isotopes. The process of isotope separation represents a significant technological challenge, but more so with heavy elements such as uranium or plutonium, than with lighter elements such as hydrogen, lithium, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. The lighter elements are commonly separated by gas diffusion of their compounds such as CO and NO. Uranium isotopes have been separated in bulk by gas diffusion, gas centrifugation, laser ionization separation, and (in the Manhattan Project) by a type of production mass spectroscopy.

NMR redirects here. ... Mössbauer spectroscopy is a spectroscopic technique based on the Mössbauer effect. ... A radionuclide is an atom with an unstable Goat, which is a nucleus characterized by excess energy which is available to be imparted either to a newly-created radiation particle within the nucleus, or else to an atomic electron (see internal conversion) . The radionuclide, in this process, undergoes radioactive decay... This article is about applications of nuclear fission reactors as power sources. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. ... Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. ... This article is about the World War II nuclear project. ... Mass spectrometry is a technique for separating ions by their mass-to-charge (m/z) ratios. ...

See also

For other uses, see Atom (disambiguation). ... This article is 200 KB or more in size. ... Isotopomers (isotopic isomers) are isomers having the same number of each isotopic atom but differing in their positions. ... This is a list of particles in particle physics, including currently known and hypothetical elementary particles, as well as the composite particles that can be built up from them. ... Two nuclides are isotones if they have the same number of neutrons. ... The word isobar derives from the two ancient Greek words, ισος (isos), meaning equal, and βαρος (baros), meaning weight. In meteorology, thermodynamics, and similar science (and engineering), an isobar is a contour line of equal or constant pressure on a graph, plot, or map. ... A nuclear isomer is a metastable or isomeric state of an atom caused by the excitation of a proton or neutron in its nucleus so that it requires a change in spin before it can release its extra energy. ... This article is about electromagnetic radiation. ... . Internal conversion is a radioactive decay process where an excited nucleus interacts with an electron in one of the lower electron shells, causing the electron to be emitted from the atom. ... In chemistry, isomers are molecules with the same chemical formula and often with the same kinds of chemical bonds between atoms, but in which the atoms are arranged differently (analogous to a chemical anagram). ... A bainbridge mass spectrometer is a device used to determine isotopic masses. ...


  1. ^ Radioactives Missing From The Earth
  2. ^ NuDat 2 Description
  3. ^ Budzikiewicz H, Grigsby RD (2006). "Mass spectrometry and isotopes: a century of research and discussion". Mass spectrometry reviews 25 (1): 146-57. doi:10.1002/mas.20061. PMID 16134128. 
  4. ^ E. Jamin et al. (2003). "Improved Detection of Added Water in Orange Juice by Simultaneous Determination of the Oxygen-18/Oxygen-16 Isotope Ratios of Water and Ethanol Derived from Sugars"". [J. Agric. Food Chem.] 51: 5202. 
  5. ^ A. H. Treiman, J. D. Gleason and D. D. Bogard (2000). ""The SNC meteorites are from Mars"". [Planet. Space. Sci.] 48: 1213. 

A digital object identifier (or DOI) is a standard for persistently identifying a piece of intellectual property on a digital network and associating it with related data, the metadata, in a structured extensible way. ...

External links

Show preview Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) is a research and development facility dedicated to the support of the US Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program — a joint program of the United States Navy and United States Department of Energy, responsible for the research, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of U.S. nuclear-powered... The Berkeley Lab is perched on a hill overlooking the Berkeley central campus and San Francisco Bay. ...

  Results from FactBites:
What is an Isotope? (400 words)
An isotope is a variant on a basic element, a substance made of atoms with a different number of neutrons than is typical.
Besides the occasional tendency to be radioactive, an isotope tends to behave similarly to the natural element it is a variant on.
Carbon-14, which comprises a trace amount of all carbon on earth, is a radioactive isotope with concentration levels that can be used to determine the precise age of an artifact or fossil.
International Isotope Society / Home (270 words)
The International Isotope Society is a chartered, international organization independent of special interests groups or companies, makers or users of isotopes (radioactive or stable), etc. It is run entirely by the enthusiastic and unselfish dedicated volunteer work of its members.
The mission and principal aims of the International Isotope Society are to encourage throughout the scientific community the advancement in knowledge of the synthesis, measurement, and applications of isotopes and isotopically labeled compounds through the effective promotion of awareness and actions on key issues by providing a communications network and forum through its membership.
Overall, the International Isotope Society aims to promote the uses of isotopes and isotopically labeled compounds for studies to further improve the quality of life worldwide.
  More results at FactBites »



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