From Common Isotopic Elements and their Properties

Applications of Isotopes

Isotopes have different sets of properties. Their chemical properties do not vary while the physical properties may vary. Isotopes also exhibit different nuclear properties.

Applications Based on Physical and Chemical Properties

The physical properties of isotopes vary due to their nuclear structure but the chemical properties do not show much variance.

The popular uses based on these properties are discussed below.

Radio Isotopic Labeling

The use of isotopes is very common in Isotopic Labeling. Unusual isotopes are used as tracers or markers in chemical reactions. Atoms of an element generally cannot be distinguished from one another. These atoms can be distinguished using Mass Spectrometry or Infrared Spectroscopy, where isotopes of different masses are used. Radiations of radioactive isotopes can be used for detecting various reactants, rates, and so on in chemistry.

Radiometric Dating

Isotopes are used in Radiometric Dating, which is similar to Radio Isotopic Labeling or Radiocarbon Dating. Radiometric Dating is also used to study chemical processes by using naturally occurring isotopic tracers.

Isotopic Substitution

Isotopic substitution can be used to determine the mechanism of a reaction using Kinetic Isotope Effect.

Applications Based on Nuclear Properties

Isotopes exhibit different nuclear properties because they have varied numbers of neutrons. This also affects their physical properties.


Spectroscopy uses many unique nuclear properties of specific isotopes. For example, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can be used only for isotopes with a nonzero nuclear spin. Isotopes commonly used for NMR spectroscopy are 1H, 2D, 15N, 13C, and 31P. Another...

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Topics of Interest

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