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Nitrogen-13 is a radioisotope of nitrogen used in positron emission tomography (PET). It has a half life of a little under ten minutes, so it must be made at the PET site. A cyclotron may be used for this purpose.

Nitrogen-13 is used to tag ammonia molecules for PET.


H1 + O16 → N13 + He4

The proton must be accelerated to a kinetic energy of about 5.55 Mev or a little more.

The reaction is endothermic (i.e. the mass of the products is greater than the reactants, so energy needs to be supplied which is converted to mass).This is one reason why the proton needs to carry extra energy to produce the nuclear reaction.

The energy difference is actually 5.22 MeV, but if the proton only supplied this energy the reactants would be formed with no kinetic energy. As momentum must be conserved, the true energy that needs to be supplied by the proton is given by:

K = (1 + m / M) | E |

Nitrogen-12 Isotopes of Nitrogen Nitrogen-14
Produced from:
Oxygen-13 (EC)
Decay chain Decays to:
Carbon-13 (EC)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nitrogen-13". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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