Ytterbium: isotope data

Ytterbium has seven stable isotopes and two of them are used for medical and industrial purposes. Yb-168 is used for the production of Yb-169 and this radioisotope is used as a radiation source in gamma cameras. Yb-169 is also used in the medical field where it has been proposed as an alternative for I-125 and Pd-103 in the treatment of prostate cancer while it is also used for diagnostics in the gastrointestinal tract. Yb-176 can be used as a target for the production of carrier-free Lu-177 with a high specific activity. Yb-171 in an excited state has been proposed as an optical frequency standard, while the other Yb isotopes are used in various physics experiments.

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 ytterbium are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
168Yb 167.933894 (5) 0.13 (1) 0
170Yb 169.934759 (4) 3.04 (15) 0
171Yb 170.936323 (3) 14.28 (57) 1/2 0.4919
172Yb 171.936378 (3) 21.83 (67) 0
173Yb 172.938208 (3) 16.13 (27) 5/2 -0.6776
174Yb 173.938859 (3) 31.83 (92) 0
176Yb 175.942564 (4) 12.76 (41) 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 ytterbium are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of ytterbium, 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
166Yb 165.933875 2.363 d EC to 166Tm 0
167Yb 166.934947 17.5 m EC to 167Tm 5/2 0.62
169Yb 168.935187 32.03 d EC to 169Tm 7/2 -0.63
175Yb 174.941273 4.19 d β- to 175Lu 7/2 0.6
177Yb 176.945257 1.9 h β- to 177Lu 9/2

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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 ytterbium

Common reference compound: Yb(C5Me5)2/THF.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of ytterbium
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 171Yb 173Yb
Natural abundance /% 14.3 16.12
Spin (I) 1/2 5/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 17.499306 about 4.87
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.000790 -
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 4.51 -
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) 4.7288 -1.3025
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) 0.85506 -0.80446
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn - +2800(40)
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) -


  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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