Lithium: isotope data

Li-7 is used to control the pH level of the coolant in the primary water circuit of pressurized water reactors. Li-7 is also used for the production of the medical research radioisotope Be-7. Li-6 is used in thermonuclear weapons and the export and use of Li-6 is therefore strictly controlled. Li-6 can also be used for the production of the radioisotope H-3, which is used in biochemistry research.

Naturally occurring isotopes

This table shows information about naturally occuring isotopes, their atomic masses, their natural abundances, their nuclear spins, and their magnetic moments. Further data for radioisotopes (radioactive isotopes) of lithium are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
6Li 6.015 122 3(5) [7.59 (4)] 1 0.8220467
7Li 7.016 004 0(5) [92.41 (4)] 3/2 3.256424

In the above, the most intense ion is set to 100% since this corresponds best to the output from a mass spectrometer. This is not to be confused with the relative percentage isotope abundances which totals 100% for all the naturally occurring isotopes.

Radiosotope data

Further data for naturally occuring isotopes of lithium are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of lithium, their masses, their half-lives, their modes of decay, their nuclear spins, and their nuclear magnetic moments.
Isotope Mass / Da Half-life Mode of decay Nuclear spin Nuclear magnetic moment
8Li 8.022486 0.84 s β- to 8Be; β- + 2α to n 2 1.6536
9Li 9.026789 0.178 s β- to 9Be; β- + n to 8Be; β- + n + 2α to n 3/2 3.439
11Li 11.04379 0.0087 s β- to 11Be; β- + n to 10Be; β- + n + α to 6He 1/2 3.668

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  1. Naturally occurring isotope abundances: Commission on Atomic Weights and Isotopic Abundances report for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in Isotopic Compositions of the Elements 1989, Pure and Applied Chemistry, 1998, 70, 217. [Copyright 1998 IUPAC]
  2. For further information about radioisotopes see Jonghwa Chang's (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) Table of the Nuclides
  3. Masses, nuclear spins, and magnetic moments: I. Mills, T. Cvitas, K. Homann, N. Kallay, and K. Kuchitsu in Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK, 1988. [Copyright 1988 IUPAC]

NMR Properties of lithium

Common reference compound: LiCl/D2O, 9.7 mol kg-1 for both 6Li and 7Li.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of lithium
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 6Li 7Li
Natural abundance /% 7.59 92.41
Spin (I) 1 3/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 14.716086 38.863797
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.000645 0.271
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 3.79 1590
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) 3.9371709 10.3977013
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) 1.1625637 4.20407505
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn -0.808 -40.1
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) 0.033 21


  1. R.K. Harris in Encyclopedia of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, D.M. Granty and R.K. Harris, (eds.), vol. 5, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, 1996. I am grateful to Professor Robin Harris (University of Durham, UK) who provided much of the NMR data, which are copyright 1996 IUPAC, adapted from his contribution contained within this reference.
  2. J. Mason in Multinuclear NMR, Plenum Press, New York, USA, 1987. Where given, data for certain radioactive nuclei are from this reference.
  3. P. Pyykkö, Mol. Phys., 2008, 106, 1965-1974.
  4. P. Pyykkö, Mol. Phys., 2001, 99, 1617-1629.
  5. P. Pyykkö, Z. Naturforsch., 1992, 47a, 189. I am grateful to Professor Pekka Pyykkö (University of Helsinki, Finland) who provided the nuclear quadrupole moment data in this and the following two references.
  6. D.R. Lide, (ed.), CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 1999-2000 : A Ready-Reference Book of Chemical and Physical Data (CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, 79th edition, 1998.
  7. P. Pyykkö, personal communication, 1998, 204, 2008, 2010.

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