Isotopes are different types of atoms (nuclides?) of the same chemical element, each having a different number of neutrons. In a corresponding manner, isotopes differ in mass number (or number of nucleons) but never in atomic number. The number of protons (the atomic number) is the same because that is what characterizes a chemical element. For example, carbon-12?, carbon-13? and carbon-14? are three isotopes of the element carbon with mass numbers 12, 13 and 14, respectively. The atomic number of carbon is 6, so the neutron numbers in these isotopes of carbon are therefore 12−6 = 6, 13−6 = 7, and 14–6 = 8, respectively.

A nuclide? is an atomic nucleus with a specified composition of protons and neutrons. The nuclide? concept emphasizes nuclear? properties over chemical properties, while the isotope concept emphasizes chemical over nuclear?. The neutron number has drastic effects on nuclear? properties, but negligible effects on chemical properties. Since isotope is the older term, it is better known, and is still sometimes used in contexts where nuclide? might be more appropriate, such as nuclear? technology. Wikipedia

See Also

Figure 14.01 - Overtones Developed Musically Showing Up as Isotopes along the Vertical Axis of this Chart

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