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Radioisotopes - Uses

Name Emission Half Life Uses
americium-241 (Am) alpha 432.6 years smoke detectors, ash (product of fire) content of coal
carbon-14 (C) beta 5730 +/-
40 years
fossil dating
cobalt-60 (Co) gamma 1925 days *  gamma sterilisation,
* radiotherapy - gamma rays used to kill cancerous cells,
* industrial radiography
iodine-131 (I)
beta and gamma 8 days tracer in body to examine thyroid glands
iridium-192
(Ir)
beta and gamma 74 days gamma radiography - to find flaws in metal components
phosphorus-32
(P)
beta 14 days locating suspected brain tumour
sodium-24
(Na)
beta
(and gamma)
15 hours radiotracer in biological research, detect blood clot (blockage)

technetium-99m
(Tc)

gamma 6 hours widely-used medical radioisotope
thallium-201
chloride
gamma 73 hours cardiac imaging, nuclear medicine scan

 

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