Number of Stable Isotopes


80 elements have isotopes considered to be stable. The 83rd element, bismuth, was traditionally regarded as having the heaviest stable isotope, bismuth-209, but in 2003 researchers in Orsay, France, measured the half-life of  bismuth-209 to be 1.9×1019 years. Technetium, promethium (atomic numbers 43 and 61, respectively) and all the elements with an atomic number over 82 only have isotopes that are known to decompose through radioactive decay. No undiscovered elements are expected to be stable; therefore, lead is considered the heaviest stable element. However, it is possible that some isotopes that are now considered stable will be revealed to decay with extremely long half-lives (as with bismuth-209).


For each of the 80 stable elements, the number of the stable isotopes is given in above image. Only 90 isotopes are expected to be perfectly stable, and an additional 163 are energetically unstable, but have never been observed to decay. Thus, 253 isotopes (nuclides) are stable by definition. Those that may in the future be found to be radioactive are expected to have half-lives longer than 1022 years.


Of the chemical elements, only one element (tin) has 10 such stable isotopes, one (xenon) has eight isotopes, four have seven isotopes, eight have six isotopes, ten have five isotopes, nine have four isotopes, five have three stable isotopes, 16 have two stable isotopes, and 26 have a single stable isotope.


(for more information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotope)




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