What are Isotopes?

What are Isotopes?


Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have a different number of neutrons in their nucleus. This means that isotopes of the same element have the same number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons. Isotopes are identified by the mass number, which is the total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. For example, one isotope of carbon is carbon-12, which has six protons and six neutrons, while another isotope of carbon is carbon-14, which has six protons and eight neutrons. “Isotopes differ from one another according to their mass number” (Bentley, 2020). Isotopes are found naturally in the environment and occur in different ratios. For example, the most abundant isotope of carbon is carbon-12. However, the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 is relatively low, making it useful for radiocarbon dating. Isotopes can also be produced through artificial means in a process known as isotope separation (Mazur, 2020). Isotopes are used in a variety of ways, such as in medical imaging, nuclear power, and nuclear weapons. Cont…

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