Horen, Daniel J. Nuclear Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Nuclear stability
- Isotopic abundance
- Use of separated isotopes
- Atomic mass
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
One member of a (chemical-element) family of atomic species which has two or more nuclides with the same number of protons (Z) but a different number of neutrons (N). Because the atomic mass is determined by the sum of the number of protons and neutrons contained in the nucleus, isotopes differ in mass. Since they contain the same number of protons (and hence electrons), isotopes have the same chemical properties. However, the nuclear and atomic properties of isotopes can be different. The electronic energy levels of an atom depend upon the nuclear mass. Thus, corresponding atomic levels of isotopes are slightly shifted relative to each other. A nucleus can have a magnetic moment which can interact with the magnetic field generated by the electrons and lead to a splitting of the electronic levels. The number of resulting states of nearly the same energy depends upon the spin of the nucleus and the characteristics of the specific electronic level. See also: Atomic structure and spectra; Hyperfine structure; Isotope shift
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information