Radioisotopes used for dating
Bones, the heart, the brain, the liver, the lungs, and many other organs can be imaged in similar ways by using the appropriate radioactive isotope.Very little radioactive material is needed in these diagnostic techniques because the radiation emitted is so easy to detect.(Recall that tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.) Tracers can also be used to follow the steps of a complex chemical reaction.After incorporating radioactive atoms into reactant molecules, scientists can track where the atoms go by following their radioactivity.A tiny amount of carbon-14 is produced naturally in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and living things incorporate some of it into their tissues, building up to a constant, albeit very low, level.
Using such methods, scientists determined that the age of the Shroud of Turin (Figure 15.3 “Shroud of Turin”; purported by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and composed of flax fibres, a type of plant) is about 600–700 y, not 2,000 y as claimed by some.
Radioactive isotopes are useful for establishing the ages of various objects.
The half-life of radioactive isotopes is unaffected by any environmental factors, so the isotope acts like an internal clock.
In addition radioisotopes can be used for diagnostic purposes, such as the use of radioiodide to trace thyroid absorption and…
Radioactive isotopes have a variety of applications.
A is a substance that can be used to follow the pathway of that substance through some structure.