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What is an Isotope?


What is an Isotope?


Simply put, isotopes are different versions of elements—the same ones you’d find on the periodic table. The core, or nucleus, of each element holds protons and neutrons. Each element contains a fixed number of protons. But when you vary the number of neutrons, you create different isotopes of the same element.

There are 118 elements on the periodic table. There are more than 3,000 isotopes that we know of and likely thousands more waiting to be discovered. At FRIB, home to the world’s most powerful isotope-making accelerator, scientists can create isotopes that have never been seen before, giving them the ability to look at research through a whole new lens.

Learn more about isotopes


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