IGCSE Coordinated Science: The nuclear atom – Isotopes

Topics: Science

IGCSE Coordinated Science: The nuclear atom – Isotopes

The Nuclear Atom – Isotopes

  1. Use the term isotope.

Isotopes are atoms of the same element with the “same” number of protons but with different number of neutrons

  1. Give and explain examples of practical applications of isotopes

Carbon Dating

This graph shows an example of carbon dating.

  • Naturally occurring CO2 in the air contains some Carbon-14. The Carbon content of living things is continually replenished through absorption of CO2 so there is fixed ratio of Carbon-12 to Carbon 14.

  • Once dead, Carbon 14 is no longer absorbed, and the remaining Carbon 14 goes under radioactive decay.
  • The half life of carbon 14 is 5730 years. This is the time that a fixed amount of carbon 14 takes to decay to one half of the original amount. By measuring ratio of Carbon12 to Carbon 14 the age of something can be roughly estimated.


  • Cobalt 60
  • Iodine 131
  • Iodine 125

Cobalt 60 is a powerful gamma emitter and has been used for over 50 years to treat different types of cancer.

Additionally, Cobalt 60 can also:

  • Sterilize medical equipment
  • Food Irradiation
  • Tracer for Cobalt in Chemical reactions.

Iodine 131 is used in the treatment of thyroid cancer.

Iodine 125 is used to treat prostate cancer and brain tumours.

Cite this page

IGCSE Coordinated Science: The nuclear atom – Isotopes. (2023, Aug 02). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/igcse-coordinated-science-the-nuclear-atom-isotopes/

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7