Isotopes and Isobars
Isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element. While all isotopes of a given element share the same number of protons, each isotope differs from the others in its number of neutrons. The term isotope is formed from the Greek roots isos (ἴσος "equal") and topos (τόπος "place"). Hence: "the same place," meaning that different isotopes of a single element occupy the same position on the periodic table. The number of protons within the atom's nucleus uniquely identifies an element, but a given element may in principle have any number of neutrons. The number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) in the nucleus, known as the mass number, is not the same for two isotopes of any element.
For example, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14 are three isotopes of the element carbon with mass numbers 12, 13 and 14 respectively. The atomic number of carbon is 6 which means that every carbon atom has 6 protons, so that the neutron numbers of these isotopes are 12 − 6 = 6, 13 − 6 = 7 and 14 − 6 = 8 respectively.
Isobars are atoms (nuclides) of different chemical elements that have the same number of nucleons. Correspondingly, isobars differ in atomic number (or number of protons) but not in mass number. An example of a series of isobars would be 40S, 40Cl, 40Ar, 40K, and 40Ca. The nuclei of these nuclides all contain 40 nucleons, however they contain varying numbers of protons and neutrons.
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