Astrophysics (Index)About


(D, 2H)
(hydrogen isotope with one neutron)

Deuterium (D or 2H) is a hydrogen isotope with a nucleus of a proton and neutron rather than the more common isotope with just a proton as the nucleus. A water molecule including two deuterium atoms is called heavy water, and pure heavy water is indeed about 10% heavier than typical water. The effect of the additional neutron on chemistry is very slight: generally just slight changes in the speed of the reaction or the equilibrium between two compounds, but the differences can be used in observation to discover abundances, e.g., to study hydrology. Deuterium is often abbreviated D, which is sometimes used as a variable designating a quantity related to deuterium, such as the mass fraction of something. For example, Dp (p for "primal") has been used to indicate the mass fraction of deuterium produced by the Big Bang nucleosynthesis.

Tritium (3H) is the hydrogen isotope with two neutrons. It is radioactive, decaying into helium-3 with a half life of 12.32 years, thus very rare in nature.

Further reading:

Referenced by pages:
Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN)
binding energy
brown dwarf (BD)
methane (CH4)
deuterium burning
fractionation factor
Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE)
H-alpha (Ha)
hydrogen burning
hydrogen (H)
hydrogen deuteride (HD)
Lyman alpha (Ly-α)
Lyman series (L)
Project 8
Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO)
spectral line designation
21-cm line