How to radioisotope dating
Radioisotopes are also widely used in scientific research and are employed in a range of applications, from tracing the flow of contaminants in biological systems to determining metabolic processes in small Australian animals.
They are also used on behalf of international nuclear safeguards agencies to detect clandestine nuclear activities from the distinctive radioisotopes produced by weapons programs.
They can also be defined as atoms that contain an unstable combination of neutrons and protons, or excess energy in their nucleus.
The unstable nucleus of a radioisotope can occur naturally, or as a result of artificially altering the atom.
A radiopharmaceutical is a molecule that consists of a radioisotope tracer attached to a pharmaceutical.
After entering the body, the radio-labelled pharmaceutical will accumulate in a specific organ or tumour tissue.
Also used to irradiate fruit fly larvae in order to contain and eradicate outbreaks, as an alternative to the use of toxic pesticides. Used to trace sand movement in river beds and on ocean floors, and to trace sand to study coastal erosion.
Also used to trace factory waste causing ocean pollution, and to study sewage and liquid waste movements. Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radiation to provide information about a person's body and the functioning of specific organs, ongoing biological processes, or the disease state of a specific illness.
Radioisotopes are commonly used in industrial radiography, which uses a gamma source to conduct stress testing or check the integrity of welds.
Atoms with an unstable nucleus regain stability by shedding excess particles and energy in the form of radiation.
The process of shedding the radiation is called radioactive decay.
A sealed radioactive source is an encapsulated quantity of a radioisotope used to provide a beam of ionising radiation.
Industrial sources usually contain radioisotopes that emit gamma rays or X-rays.
Radioisotopes are an essential part of radiopharmaceuticals.