Isotopes are forms of an element differing in mass and physical properties, but with the same chemical properties. While most isotopes are stable, some emit radiation. These radioisotopes are used in medical and industrial applications, environmental tracing and biological studies. The IAEA helps its Member States apply isotope techniques.

  • IAEA

    Radioisotopes

    Radioisotopes are the unstable form of an element that emit radiation to transform into a more stable form. Radiation is easily traceable and can cause changes in the substance it falls upon. These special attributes make radioisotopes useful in medicine, industry and other areas. Read more →

  • IAEA isotope hydrology symposium

    Stable isotopes

    Stable isotopes are non-radioactive forms of atoms. Although they do not emit radiation, their unique properties enable them to be used in a broad variety of applications, including water and soil management, environmental studies, nutrition assessment studies and forensics. Read more →

  • radiopharmaceutical production

    Radiopharmaceutical production

    Radiopharmaceuticals contain small amounts of radioisotopes that can be produced by irradiating a specific target inside a nuclear research reactor or in particle accelerators, such as cyclotrons. Once produced, the radioisotopes are tagged on to certain molecules based on biological characteristics, which results in radiopharmaceuticals.  Read more →