Stable isotope

From Academic Kids

Different isotopes of one chemical element may have different radioactive properties. Those isotopes that are not radioactive are called stable. While stable isotopes of the same element maintain the same chemical characteristics and therefore react in the same way, the mass difference as a result of an extra few neutrons results in partial separation of the light from heavy isotopes during chemical reactions (isotopic fractionation). For example, the difference in mass between the two main isotopes of hydrogen H-1 (1 proton, no neutron) and H-2 (also known as deuterium; 1 proton, 1 neutron) is almost 100%. Therefore, a significant fractionation will occur.

Commonly analysed stable isotopes include oxygen, carbon, hydrogen and sulfur. These isotope systems have been under investigation for many years as they are relatively simple to measure. Recent advances in mass spectrometry (ie: muliple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) now enable the measurement of heavier stable isotopes, such as iron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, etc.

Stable isotope fractionation

There are three types of isotope fractionation:

See also

es:Isótopo estable

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