Oxygen: isotope data

All three Oxygen isotopes have medical applications. O-16 is used in the production of radioactive N-13 which is used for PET imaging and myocardial perfusion. O-17 can be used as a tracer in the study of cerebral oxygen utilization. Large quantities of O-18 are used for the production of F-18. F-18 is used to produce 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) which is used as a tracer in positron emission tomography or PET. Millions of these FDG-PET medical procedures are performed annually to investigate a range of diseases in various human organs.

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 oxygen are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
16O 15.99491463 (5) 99.757 (16) 0 0
17O 16.9991312 (4) 0.038 (1) 5/2 -1.89380
18O 17.9991603 (9) 0.205 (14) 0 0

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 oxygen are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of oxygen, 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
14O 14.008595 70.60 s EC to 14N 0
15O 15.003065 122.2 s EC to 15N 1/2 0.719
19O 19.003577 26.9 s β- to 19F 5/2
20O 20.004076 13.5 s β- to 20F 0
21O 21.008730 3.4 s β- to 21F
22O 22.0101 2.2 s β- to 22F

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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 oxygen

Common reference compound: D2O, neat.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of oxygen
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 17O
Natural abundance /% 0.038
Spin (I) 5/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 13.556457
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.0000111
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 0.0650
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) -3.62808
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) -2.24077
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn -25.58(22)
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) 2.1


  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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