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Star Republic: Guide for Biologists

Isotopes used in biological sciences

Please consult the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for each product for details.

Isotope

Radiation

Half-life

Range

Detection

Shielding

Carbon-14 (14C)

Beta (low energy)

5730 years

24 cm in air

Scintillation counters

None. Can be absorbed through skin.

Chromium-51 (51Cr)

Gamma, x-ray

(high energy)

27.8 days

Long range

Scintillation counters

to inch lead

Iodine-125 (125I)

Gamma, x-ray (low energy)

59.6 days

Long range

Scintillation counters

Lead foil

Iodine-131 (131I)

Beta and gamma (high energy)

8.0 days

Long range

Scintillation counters

Lead

Phosphorus-32 (32P)

Beta (high energy)

14.3 days

610 cm in air

Geiger-Muller tube

1 cm plexiglass (no lead, x-ray will be produced)

Phosphorus-33 (33P)

Beta (low energy)

25 days

89 cm in air

Geiger-Muller tube

Plexiglass optional

Sulphur-35 (35S)

Beta (low energy)

87.4 days

26 cm in air

Geiger-Muller tube

Plexiglass optional

Tritium

(3H)

Beta (very low energy)

12.4 years

< 1 cm in air

Scintillation counters

None. Can be absorbed through skin.