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Hydrogen Isotopes

Radioactive Decay and Half-Life of Isotopes of Hydrogen

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This is a periodic table tile for the element hydrogen.

This is a periodic table tile for the element hydrogen.

Todd Helmenstine

One proton makes a hydrogen atom. The difference between isotopes is the number of neutrons bound to that proton. There are six known hydrogen isotopes, ranging from H-1 to H-6. The H-4 isotope has a range of half-life values, depending on the overall energy of the nucleus and its total angular momentum quantum number. This table lists the hydrogen isotopes, their half-life and type of radioactive decay.

Reference: International Atomic Energy Agency ENSDF database (Oct 2010)

 

Isotope Half-Life Decay
H-1 (Protium) Stable N/A
H-2 (Deuterium) Stable N/A
H-3 (tritium) 12.32 years β-
H-4 5.1 x 10-23 sec - 9.8 x 10-23 sec n
H-5 unknown n
H-6 4.1 x 10-22 sec n
 
n
β-
neutron emission
beta- decay

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