Zinc: isotope data

Zinc isotopes are used extensively in both industrial and medical applications. Depleted Zn-64 is added to the cooling water of nuclear reactors in the form of oxide or acetate to prevent stress corrosion cracking. It also reduces the release of (stable) Co-59 into the cooling water by forming a thin spinel layer on the Co containing steel surfaces. Neutron irradiation of Co-59 will result in the formation of Co-60, a radioisotope which emits high energy gamma radiation and is a major contributor to the dose rate of personnel working in the reactor. Enriched Zn-67 is often used in biological research into the uptake of Zn in the human body. It can also be used for the production of radioactive Ga-67 in smaller cyclotrons. However, by far most Ga-67 is made from Zn-68. Zn-67, Zn-68 and Zn-70 can all be used for the production of the therapeutic isotope Cu-67. Zn-66 has been proposed as an alternative target for the production of Cu-64 and Ga-67. Finally Zn-70 is also used in biological research and in research into super-heavy elements.

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 zinc are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
64Zn 63.9291448 (19) 48.63 (60) 0
66Zn 65.9260347 (17) 27.90 (27) 0
67Zn 66.9271291 (17) 4.10 (13) 5/2 0.875479
68Zn 67.9248459 (18) 18.75 (51) 0
70Zn 69.925325 (4) 0.62 (3) 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 zinc are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of zinc, 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
60Zn 59.94183 2.40 m EC to 60Cu 0
61Zn 60.93951 1.485 m EC to 61Cu 3/2
62Zn 61.93433 9.22 h EC to 62Cu 0
63Zn 62.933215 38.5 m EC to 63Cu 3/2 -0.28164
65Zn 64.929245 243.8 d EC to 65Cu 5/2 0.7690
69Zn 68.926553 56 m β- to 69Ga 1/2
71Zn 70.92773 2.4 m β- to 71Ga 1/2
72Zn 71.92686 46.5 h β- to 72Ga 0

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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 zinc

Common reference compound: Zn(NO3)2/D2O.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of zinc
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 67Zn
Natural abundance /% 4.1
Spin (I) 5/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 6.256819
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.000118
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 0.673
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) 1.676688
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) 1.035556
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn +150(15)
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) 0.0072


  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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