What is the difference between an isotope and a radioisotope?

1 Answer
Nov 3, 2015

Isotope vs. Radioisotope


An Isotope is an atom of an element with a different number of neutrons than the original element.

  • EX * : Carbon usually has 6 neutrons. An Isotope of carbon would be carbon 13. This atom is an isotope because it has 7 neutrons instead of 6.

A Radioisotope is also an isotope by nature. The difference is that radioisotopes are very unstable and contain high levels of nuclear energy and emit this energy in the form of nuclear radiation.

Main difference: Isotopes can be stable or unstable, but Radioisotopes are always unstable.