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Of the thirty-seven known isotopes of iodine, only one occurs in nature, iodine-127. The others are radioactive and have half-lives too short to be primordial. As such, iodine is both monoisotopic and mononuclidic and its atomic weight is known to great precision, as it is a constant of nature.

Iodine-124 is a proton-rich isotope of iodine with a half-life of 4.18 days. Its modes of decay are: 74.4% electron capture, 25.6% positron emission. 124I decays to 124Te. Iodine-124 can be made by numerous nuclear reactions via a cyclotron. The most common starting material used is 124Te.

Iodine-124 as the iodide salt can be used to directly image the thyroid using positron emission tomography (PET). Iodine-124 can also be used as a PET radiotracer with a usefully longer half-life compared with fluorine-18. In this use, the nuclide is chemically bonded to a pharmaceutical to form a positron-emitting radiopharmaceutical, and injected into the body, where again it is imaged by PET scan.

Spectrum (Fullscreen)

5 minute measurement with a High Purity Germanium (HPGe) radiation detector.


Isotope: Iodine
Mass number: 124
Atomic number: 53
Neutron number: 71

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