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Many important properties of an isotope depend on its mass.The total number of neutrons and protons (symbol A), or mass number, of the nucleus gives approximately the mass measured on the so-called atomic- mass-unit (amu) scale.Some radioisotopes are manufactured in a cyclotron in which protons are introduced to the nucleus resulting in a deficiency of neutrons (proton rich).The nucleus of a radioisotope usually becomes stable by emitting an alpha and/or beta particle (or positron).Uses of stable isotopes include the custom synthesis of new and complex labeled compounds to use in agriculture, biology, chemistry, drug testing, geology, health, nutrition, physics as well as diagnostic techniques in medicine.» View Examples of Stable Isotope Compounds Many of the chemical elements have a number of isotopes.
When a combination of neutrons and protons, which does not already exist in nature, is produced artificially, the atom will be unstable and is called a radioactive isotope or radioisotope.Isotopes | Stable & Unstable | Applications | Definitions | Diagnosis | Radiotherapy | Biochemical Analysis Diagnostic/Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals | Discovery | Isotopes in Medicine | Terms & Concepts An isotope is one of two or more species of atoms of a chemical element with the same atomic number (same number or protons in the nucleus) and position in the periodic table and nearly identical chemical behavior but with different atomic masses and physical properties. An atom is first identified and labeled according to the number of protons in its nucleus.This atomic number is ordinarily given the symbol Z.Not all the atoms of an element need have the same number of neutrons in their nuclei. Three nuclei with one proton are known that contain 0, 1, and 2 neutrons, respectively.In fact, it is precisely the variation in the number of neutrons in the nuclei of atoms that gives rise to isotopes. The three share the place in the periodic table assigned to atomic number 1 and hence are called isotopes (from the Greek isos, meaning "same," and topos, signifying "place") of hydrogen.