Application of radiotopes table
Table shows example usage of selected radioisotopes.

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Application of radioisotopes

Element nameIsotopeUsed radiationHalf-life time T1/2Example usage
AmericiumShow source241Am^{241}AmShow sourceα\alpha432.7 yearssmoke detectors (fire protection systems)
CesiumShow source137Cs^{137}CsShow sourceγ\gamma30 yearsindustrial radiography, cesium bomb, thickness measurements
PhosphorousShow source32P^{32}PShow sourceβ\beta14.3 daysmedicine (treatment of leukemia)
IridiumShow source192Ir^{192}IrShow sourceγ\gamma73.8 daysindustrial radiography
IodineShow source131I^{131}IShow sourceγ\gamma8 daysmedicine (thyroid disease)
CobaltShow source60Co^{60}CoShow sourceγ\gamma5.26 yearstreatment of neoplastic diseases (cobalt bomb), industrial radiography, radiation devices, lithium scale, equipment for measuring the thickness and measuring the level of liquids in tanks
PlutoniumShow source238Pu^{238}PuShow sourceα\alpha87.7 yearssmoke detectors
RubidiumShow source87Rb^{87}RbShow sourceβ\beta50000000000 yearsradioactive dating
SulfurShow source35S^{35}SShow sourceβ\beta87.32 daysmarked atom, mainly in the study of organic compounds
ThaliumShow source204Tl^{204}TlShow sourceβ\beta3.8 yearsthickness measurements
CarbonShow source14C^{14}CShow sourceβ\beta5570 yearsdetermining the age of excavations, monuments, etc., studying the mechanisms of complex reactions (marked atom)
HydrogenShow source3H^{3}HShow sourceβ\beta12.46 yearsluminous paints, research on reaction mechanisms (marked atom)

Some facts

  • Unstable isotopes undergo radioactive decay creating stable ones.
  • Radioactive decay is usually related to emision of:
    • alpha radiation - composed of helium nuclei 4He2+^{4}He^{2+},
    • beta radiation - depending on the decay type composed of electrons (β\beta^{-} decay) or positrons (β+\beta^{+} decay) moving at speed comparable to the speed of light,
    • gamma radiation - electromagnetic radiation with quant energy above 50 keV.
  • Unstable nuclei are sometimes called radioactive isotopes or radioisotopes.
  • Large doses of radiation emitted during nuclear transformations are dangerous to health, and in extreme cases can lead to radiation sickness. On the other hand, small doses such as those that we encounter when taking an X-ray are harmless.
  • The phenomenon of radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by a French physicist Henri Becquerel. He studied various substances for phosphorescence, including uranium salts.
  • An important contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon of radioactivity was made by polish chemist Maria Curie-Skłodowska.
  • In quantitative terms, the unit of radioactivity is 1 bekerel (Bq), which is equivalent to 1 decay per second.

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