Nitrogen: isotope data

Nitrogen has two isotopes, N-14 and N-15, both of which are used in various applications. N-15 is used for the production of the radioisotope O-15 which is used in PET. N-15 is also used to study the uptake of Nitrogen in plants and the metabolism of proteins in the human body. N-14 is used for the production of the PET radioisotope C-11. It can also be used for the production of the PET radioisotopes N-13 and O-15.

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 nitrogen are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
14N 14.003 074 005 2(9) 99.632 (7) 1 0.4037607
15N 15.000 108 898 4(9) 0.368 (7) 1/2 -0.2831892

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 nitrogen are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of nitrogen, 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
12N 12.018613 0.011 s EC to 12C; EC + 3α to n 1 0.457
13N 13.0057386 9.97 m EC to 13C 1/2 0.3222
16N 16.006100 7.13 s β- to 16O 2
17N 17.00845 4.17 s β- to 17O, β- + n to 16O 1/2
18N 18.01408 0.62 s β- to 18O; β- + α to 14C 1
19N 19.01704 0.3 s β- to 19O
20N 20.0237 0.1 s β- to 20O

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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 nitrogen

Common reference compound: CH3NO2 /neat CDCl3.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of nitrogen
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 14N 15N
Natural abundance /% 99.632 0.368
Spin (I) 1 1/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 7.226317 10.136767
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.00100 0.00000384
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 5.90 0.0225
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) 1.9337792 -2.71261804
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) 0.57100428 -0.49049746
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn 20.44(3) -
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) 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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