Isotope


An isotope is an atom (the smallest unit of matter) that has the characteristic of having the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons, causing them to differ in their mass number. According to its etymology, the term comes from the Greek “Isos” What does it mean “Place” Y “Topos” What does it mean “In the same place”. As a consequence of this disproportionality in its nucleus, it causes more element radiation, having outstanding effects in different applied areas of science.

Its discovery is attributed to the English chemist Frederick Soddy in 1911 who studied the radiation of organic substances in the earth, he realized the equality of the chemical properties of the elements, but noting the difference that generated more radioactivity. Almost all the chemical elements discovered today have at least one isotope, some stable and others unstable, all of them lead to determining relevant data on matter such as the age of the earth recently rewritten in 2010 by scientist John Rudge. which said that due to the decay of the unstable isotopes of hafnium 182 and tungsten 182 the earth has an age of 4470 million years ± 1%.

There are basically two types of isotopes, the natural ones that come from the elements of which the earth is composed or any element existing on the planet. Artificial isotopes are created in nuclear laboratories in which, under the subatomic particle bombardment procedure, they generate short-lived isotopes such as cesium, which is used for the electrical energy generation process in nuclear plants.

Scientific research fields such as medicine, hydrology, and petroleum engineering have made important advances with the application of unstable isotopes in their processes. Cancer treatment with Cobalt – 60 produces cheaper, cleaner radiation in chemotherapies and medications that patients receive. In petrochemicals, the application of Gold – 198 allows increases in crude oil production as it improves the drilling process of wells and their secondary recovery. Finally, Nitrogen – 15, one of the most widely used, has favorably led the advancement of medicine by being one of the main elements of magnetic resonators used to see clear images of the interior of the body.