Mon January 14, 2013 By:

what are the uses of carbon isotopes

Expert Reply
Mon January 14, 2013
C-12 is present in lots of compounds.
The only thing you can do with carbon-13 is NMR spectroscopy. This is a technique that gives information on the identity and number of atoms adjacent to other atoms in a molecule, thereby giving clues to the structure of an organic molecule. It is so you can find where the carbon atoms are in a molecule, but since carbon-13 is an isotope that represents only about 1% of naturally occurring carbon, you have to do many scans of many different molecules.
C-14is used to determin the age of different organic materials, by measuring the amount of carbon-14 in a material, compared to the amount of carbon-12.

Ask the Expert