Zirconium: isotope data

Zirconium has five stable isotopes, of which a few are used for the production of radioisotopes. Although radioactive Zr-95 is a fission product, it can also produced by neutron irradiation of Zr-94. Zr-96 has been used for the production of the radioisotope Zr-97. Zr-90 can be used for the production of the PET isotope Nb-90. Finally, Zr-90 has been proposed for cladding in nuclear fuel. The use of Zr-90 would lower even further the already low neutron absorption cross section of natural Zr that is currently used as fuel cladding.

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 zirconium are listed (including any which occur naturally) below.
Isotope Mass / Da Natural abundance (atom %) Nuclear spin (I) Magnetic moment (μ/μN)
90Zr 89.9047026 (26) 51.45 (40) 0
91Zr 90.9056439 (26) 11.22 (5) 5/2 -1.30362
92Zr 91.9050386 (26) 17.15 (8) 0
94Zr 93.9063148 (28) 17.38 (28) 0
96Zr 95.908275 (4) 2.80 (9) 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 zirconium are listed above. This table gives information about some radiosotopes of zirconium, 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
86Zr 85.91647 16.5 h EC to 86Y 0
87Zr 86.91482 1.73 h EC to 87Y 9/2
88Zr 87.91023 83.4 d EC to 88Y 0
89Zr 88.908889 3.27 d EC to 89Y 9/2
93Zr 92.906474 1.5 x 106 y β- to 93Nb 5/2
95Zr 94.908041 64.02 d β- to 95Nb 5/2
96Zr 95.908276 3.9 x 1019 y - to 96Mo 0
97Zr 96.910950 16.8 h β- to 97Nb 1/2

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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 zirconium

Common reference compound: ZrCl2(C5H5)2/CH2Cl2.

Table of NMR-active nucleus propeties of zirconium
  Isotope 1 Isotope 2 Isotope 3
Isotope 91Zr
Natural abundance /% 11.22
Spin (I) 5/2
Frequency relative to 1H = 100 (MHz) 9.296297
Receptivity, DP, relative to 1H = 1.00 0.00107
Receptivity, DC, relative to 13C = 1.00 6.09
Magnetogyric ratio, γ (107 rad T‑1 s-1) -2.49743
Magnetic moment, μ (μN) -1.54246
Nuclear quadrupole moment, Q/millibarn -176(3)
Line width factor, 1056 l (m4) 0.014


  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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