What are isotopes used for in scientific research experimental controls
What are Isotopes?
Let’s imagine a pair of identical twins. These twins have the same temperament, and since they’re identical, it is very hard to tell them apart unless you examine them closely. When it is time for their annual physical, the twins need to step on a weighing scale, and when they do, one weighs slightly more than the other. In terms of chemistry, we can say that these twins are like isotopes of each other.
Atoms and elements are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. The nucleus is made of protons and neutrons, and the electrons surround the nucleus, as shown in the illustration below. The sum of the number of protons and the number of neutrons is equal to the atomic mass.
In a given element, the number of neutrons can be different from each other, while the number of protons is not. These different versions of the same element are called isotopes. Isotopes are atoms with the same number of protons but that have a different number of neutrons. Since the atomic number is equal to the number of protons and the atomic mass is the sum of protons and neutrons, we can also say that isotopes are elements with the same atomic number but different mass numbers.