Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe. It is the first element on the periodic table and is represented by the chemical symbol H. It is a highly flammable gas that has many important uses. Although it was first produced in 1671 by Robert Boyle, it wasn’t officially recognized until 1766 by Henry Cavendish. If you want to know how many isotopes hydrogen has, keep reading to find out.
How many isotopes does hydrogen have?
Hydrogen has 3 naturally occurring isotopes and two of these are stable isotopes. 1H, also called protium, is a stable isotope and is the most common form of hydrogen isotope (it makes up at least 99.98% of all hydrogen). 2H, known as deuterium, is also a stable isotope. 3H, called tritium, is the only naturally occurring radioactive isotope of hydrogen. It has a half life of 12.32 years and small amounts occur on Earth due to cosmic rays and nuclear weapons testing.
There have also been other isotopes of hydrogen created in the laboratory. These are extremely unstable and have a half life of less than a zeptosecond. These are known as 4H (quadrium), 4.1H (muonic helium), 5H, 6H, 7H. 7H was the last isotope of hydrogen to be discovered and was first synthesized by a group of international students at RIKEN’s RI Beam Science Laboratory in 2003.
Did you know?
Hydrogen is the only chemical element that has names for its isotopes that are still commonly used.