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Uses of radioisotopes
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Uses of radioisotopes



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  • 1.  Isotopes are atoms of an elements that have the same proton number(Z) but a different nucleon number(A)  Unstable isotopes which decay and give out radioactive emissions  Naturally occurring or artificially produced
  • 2.  Emits radioactive radiation which  Have different penetrating ability with materials of different thickness and densities  Kill cells  Cause cell mutation  Ionise molecules  Have the same chemical properties as non- radioactive isotopes of the same element  Its activity decreases with time
  • 3.  Beryllium-7 is produced when boron-10 captures a proton  Magnesium-24 is bombarded by a neutron, sodium-24 can be produced
  • 4. Medicine Agriculture Archaeology Industries
  • 5.  Uses radiation to provide information about the function of the specific organs of a patient or to treat disease  A radioisotope is taken in by a patient  The radiation emitted enables organs to be easily imaged by imaging equipment  Disorders can then be detected and treated
  • 6. •Tracers  Thyroid gland  Iodine-131 will be used  1/4 of the total amount of iodine in the body can be stored in the thyroid gland  Amount of iodine entering the gland can be seen by detecting the radioactive emitted from the radioactive iodine  γ or β emitter with a short half-life is used.
  • 7.  Thrombosis  Sodium-24 is injected into the bloodstream to detect the position of blood clots or thrombosis in the blood vessels  Brain tumour  Can be detected and treated by using phosphorus-32  Sterilisation  Radioisotope cobalt-60 is used to sterelise medical equipments
  • 8.  Study the effectiveness of fertilisers  Nitrogen-15 or phosphorus-32 is added to soil water  After the plant absorbed the soil water, the radioisotopes can track uptake of fertiliser from root to leaves  Radioisotopes are used to kill pests and parasites and to control the ripening of fruits  Induced genetic mutation in a plant  Better strain  Higher resistance against diseases
  • 9.  Carbon-14 is a radioisotope with a half-life of 5730 years and decays by emitting beta particles  Living animals and plants have a known proportion of carbon-14 in their tissues which remains constant and decreases when they die  The amount of carbon-14 left in a decayed plant or animal can be used to tell its age K
  • 10.  The α - particles from polonium-210 is used to neutralize static charge in photographic plates and other materials  Water can be made radioactive by dissolving some radioactive salt which contains sodium-24  The β – particles emitted are detected by a GM tube  γ - rays can be used to penetrate deep into weldings to detect faults
  • 11. •Tracers  Underground pipe leaks  Tracer will be added to the liquid in the pipe  Detector is moved along the pipe  The count rate will increase as there is large amount of water  The radioactive source will be a short half-life γ emitter
  • 12. •Thickness control  The manufacture of aluminium foil  β emitter is placed above the foil and a detector below it  Some β particle will penetrate the foil and the amount of radiation is monitored by the computer  The computer will send a signal to the roller to make the gap smaller or bigger based on the count rate K