Monoisotopic element

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with the 22 mononuclidic elements, defined as those with only one significant naturally-abundant nuclide.
      Monoisotopic and mononuclidic elements
             Monoisotopic, but natural radionuclides exist

A monoisotopic element is one of 26 chemical elements which have only a single stable isotope (nuclide). A list is given in a following section.

Stability is experimentally defined for chemical elements, as there are a number of stable nuclides with atomic numbers over ~ 40 which are theoretically unstable, but apparently have half-lives so long that they have not been observed directly or indirectly (from measurement of products) to decay.

Monoisotopic elements are characterized, except in a single case, by odd numbers of protons (odd Z), and even numbers of neutrons. Because of the energy gain from nuclear pairing effects, the odd number of protons imparts instability to isotopes of an odd-Z element, which typically requires at least a completely paired set of neutrons to offset into stability.

The single mononuclidic exception is beryllium, which has 4 protons and 5 neutrons. This element is prevented from having equal numbers of neutrons and protons (4 of each) by the instability toward double-alpha decay, which is favored due to the extremely tight binding of helium-4 nuclei. It is prevented from having a stable isotope with 4 protons and 6 neutrons by the very large mismatch in proton/neutron ratio for such a light element. (Nevertheless, beryllium-10 has a half-life of 1.36 million years, which is too short to be primordial, but still indicates unusual stability for a light isotope with such an imbalance.)

Differentiation from similar term[edit]

The set of monoisotopic elements overlap but are not the same as the set of 22 mononuclidic elements, which are characterized as having essentially only one isotope (nuclide) found in nature.[1] The reason for this is the occurrence of certain long-lived radioactive primordial nuclides in nature, which may form admixtures with the monoisotopics, and thus prevent them from being naturally mononuclidic. This happens in the cases of 7 (26 − 19 = 7) of the monoisotopic elements. These isotopes are monoisotopic, but due to the presence of the long lived radioactive primordial nuclide, are not mononuclidic. These elements are vanadium, rubidium, indium, lanthanum, europium, rhenium and lutetium. See the list below; in two noted cases, the long-lived radionuclide is actually the most abundant isotope in nature, and the stable isotope is less abundant.

In 3 additional cases (bismuth,[2] thorium, and protactinium), mononuclidic elements occur primordially which are not monoisotopic because the naturally-occurring nuclide is radioactive, and thus the element has no stable isotopes at all. For an element to be monoisotopic, it must have one stable nuclide.

List of (observationally-stable) monoisotopic elements, ordered by atomic number and weight[edit]

Non-mononuclidic elements are marked with an asterisk, and the long-lived primordial radioisotope given. In two notable cases (indium and rhenium), the highest abundance naturally occurring isotope is the mildly radioactive one, and in the case of europium, nearly half of it is.

  1. Beryllium-9
  2. Fluorine-19
  3. Sodium-23
  4. Aluminium-27
  5. Phosphorus-31
  6. Scandium-45
  7. Vanadium-51* naturally occurs with 0.25% of radioactive vanadium-50
  8. Manganese-55
  9. Cobalt-59
  10. Arsenic-75
  11. Rubidium-85* naturally occurs with 27.835% of radioactive rubidium-87
  12. Yttrium-89
  13. Niobium-93
  14. Rhodium-103
  15. Indium-113* naturally occurs with majority (95.7%) radioactive isotope indium-115
  16. Iodine-127
  17. Caesium-133
  18. Lanthanum-139* naturally occurs with 0.09% radioactive lanthanum-138
  19. Praseodymium-141
  20. Europium-153* naturally occurs with 47.8% radioactive europium-151
  21. Terbium-159
  22. Holmium-165
  23. Thulium-169
  24. Lutetium-175* naturally occurs with 2.59% radioactive lutetium-176
  25. Rhenium-185* naturally occurs with majority (62.6%) radioactive isotope rhenium-187
  26. Gold-197

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ N. E. Holden, "Standard Atomic Weight Values for the Mononuclidic Elements - 2001," BNL-NCS-68362, Brookhaven National Laboratory (2001)
  2. ^ Until 2003, 209Bi was thought to be in the first category. It was then found to have a half-life of 1019 years, about a billion times the age of the universe. See Bismuth

External links[edit]