Introduction of Isotope

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Isotopes refer to different atoms of the same element, whose atoms have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. The discovery of isotopes makes people have a deeper understanding of atomic structure. This not only gives a new meaning to the concept of elements, but also significantly revolves the benchmark of relative atomic mass, which confirms that the proton number, also called the nuclear charge number, is the key to the chemical properties of elements, not the atomic mass number.

Introduction of Isotope

Properties of isotopes

The chemical properties of elements mainly depend on the outer electronic configuration of elements, while isotopes are one of two or more atoms of the same chemical element with the same atomic number, occupying the same position on the periodic table of elements, so their chemical properties are almost the same, but the atomic mass or mass number is different, thus their mass spectrum properties, radioactive transformation and physical properties are different.

Isotopes that exist naturally in nature are called natural isotopes, and synthetic isotopes are called man-made isotopes. If the isotope is radioactive, it will be called radioactive isotope. Every element has radioactive isotopes. Some radioisotopes exist in nature, while others are artificially produced by bombarding stable nuclei with nuclear particles, such as protons, alpha particles or neutrons.

Isotope labeled method

Isotopes can be used to track the movement and change rule of substances. Isotopes are called tracer elements when they are used to track the movement and change of substances. Isotopic labeling refers to the labeling that atoms in compounds are replaced by tracer atoms of its radioactive isotopes or stable isotopes. The chemical properties of compounds labeled with tracer elements are unchanged. Scientists can find out the detailed process of chemical reaction by tracing compounds labeled by trace elements. This scientific research method is called isotope labeled method. Isotope labeled method is also called isotopic tracer technique.

Application Fields

The application of isotope technology has attracted increasingly attention, and many isotopes have important uses, for example, 12C is an atom used as a standard for determining atomic weight; two kinds of H atoms are materials for making hydrogen bombs; 235U is the material for making atomic bombs and the raw material for nuclear reactors; the course of esterification reaction was confirmed by O-labeled compound, and so on. Isotope labeled method is widely used in national defense scientific research, industrial and agricultural production and medical technology. Research on the application potential of isotopes in different aspects is of great significance to human life and development.

  • Medical Industry
  • Medical isotopes refer to radioactive isotopes that can be used for disease diagnosis and treatment. They usually play an irreplaceable role in diagnosis and treatment of malignant tumor, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, etc. The commonly used medical isotopes for stacking in the world include 99Mo/99mTc, 125/131I, 89Sr, 32P, 177Lu, 90Y, 14C, etc. Isotopes have played an important role in immunology, molecular biology, genetic engineering research and development of basic nuclear medicine.

  • Bio-medical Industry
  • The most important application of isotope tracer technique in biological science is to study the metabolic transformation of substances, in other words, to study the biochemical processes in life activities. The tracer technology not only establishes the relationship between precursors and products in metabolic transformation, explores the precursors and products of substances, and it’s also often used to discuss how metabolic transformation is completed. In addition, isotopic tracer technique can measure the renewal rate of metabolites in tissues. It also confirms that many macromolecules in the body are synthesized from small molecules.

  • Nuclear energy Industry
  • Nuclear energy involves many fields such as nuclear medicine, nuclear power, radiation technology and isotopes. An essential aspect of peaceful use of nuclear energy is also an important part of the nuclear industry serving the national economy and people's lives. Radioisotope is an important aspect of nuclear energy utilization. The energy released by radioactive isotopes during nuclear decay can be used to manufacture isotope batteries. The radioactive isotope is also used for fission reaction in nuclear power plants or used for manufacturing nuclear weapons, and so on. With the development of isotope production, the application of nuclear technology in many departments has been further promoted, and obvious economic and social benefits have been achieved.

  • Agriculture Industry
  • In agriculture, isotopic tracer technique is used to study the rational use of pesticides and fertilizers and soil improvement, which provides new measures for increasing agricultural production. Isotope technology has gradually been regarded as a powerful tool for tracing soil sources and studying soil cycle. Other research work, such as food preservation by radiation, has also made great progress. By adopting radiation method or combining radiation with other methods has cultivated excellent varieties of crops, which have greatly increased the production of crops such as grain, cotton and soybean. It is of great significance to the survival and development of mankind.

  • Environmental aspects
  • Environmental isotopes refer to natural isotopes widely existing in nature, such as H, C, N, O, S, etc., which are basic elements in hydrological, geological and biological systems. Isotopic hydrogeology is the product of the development of modern nuclear technology. The main basis for obtaining groundwater system information by isotope technology is that stable isotopes play a role in marking water and radioactive isotopes play a role in timing water. A large number of hydrogeology studies have used isotopes in water molecules to judge groundwater source, water quality, recharge mechanism, water-rock reaction, groundwater age and its renewal ability. With the development of analysis and testing technology, people pay more and more attention to the application of isotope technology of low concentration and trace elements in groundwater. By using stable isotope technology, ecologists can detect many ecological processes that change with time and space without disturbing the natural state of the ecosystem and the nature of the elements.

References:

  1. Zhang, Q., Ju, M., Chen, L., & Zeng, X. C. (2016). Differential permeability of proton isotopes through graphene and graphene analogue monolayer. The journal of physical chemistry letters, 7(17), 3395-3400.
  2. Niese, S. (2006). George de Hevesy (1885–1966), founder of radioanalytical chemistry. Czechoslovak Journal of Physics, 56(4), D3-D11.
  3. Aggarwal, P. K., Froehlich, K., Gonfiantini, R., & Gat, J. R. (2005). Isotope hydrology: a historical perspective from the IAEA. In Isotopes in the Water Cycle (pp. 3-8). Springer, Dordrecht.