The nucleus of an atom contains protons and neutrons. However, some atoms of the same chemical element can have varying numbers of neutrons, giving so-called isotopes of that element. Most elements have both stable and radioactive isotopes. Radioactive isotopes of an element are commonly used as tracers in medical, biological, and industrial studies to gain information about physical and mechanical processes. In geology and archaeology, radioactive isotopes are used to determine the age of a sample while hydrologists can use isotope signatures to distinguish between different groundwater types.
In the health sector, isotopes are used for the diagnosis of heart disease, locomotive disorders and cancer, for therapy and palliative applications. Every year more than 30 million medical treatments and over 100 million laboratory tests are carried out using isotopes. In the environmental field, isotopes are used for the measurement of air and water pollution, and to understand effects and risks to public health and environment from certain management scenarios for radioactive waste. In the field of industrial safety, radioisotopes are used to detect flaws in steel sections used for bridge and jet airliner construction, and to check the welds on pipes, tanks and other structures. In consumer protection and safety, isotopes are used to study the quality of foodstuffs and their metabolisation by humans.
Aidan Gilligan | alfa
A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University
A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
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