Beryllium Isotopes

Radioactive Decay and Half-Life of Isotopes of Beryllium

Beryllium (Chemical Element)
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All beryllium atoms have four protons but could have between one and ten neutrons. There are ten known isotopes of beryllium, ranging from Be-5 to Be-14. Many beryllium isotopes have multiple decay paths depending on the overall energy of the nucleus and its total angular momentum quantum number.

This table lists the known isotopes of beryllium, their half-life, and type of radioactive decay. The first entry corresponds to the nucleus where j=0 or the most stable isotope. Isotopes with multiple decay schemes are represented by a range of half-life values between the shortest and longest half-life for that type of decay.

Reference: International Atomic Energy Agency ENSDF database (Oct 2010)

Isotope Half-Life Decay
Be-5 unknown p
Be-6 5.8 x 10 -22 sec - 7.2 x 10 -21 sec p or α
Be-7 53.22 d
3.7 x 10 -22 sec - 3.8 x 10 -21 sec
α, 3He, p possible
Be-8 1.9 x 10 -22 sec - 1.2 x 10 -16 sec
1.6 x 10 -22 sec - 1.2 x 10 -19 sec
α D, 3He, IT, n, p possible
Be-9 Stable
4.9 x 10 -22 sec - 8.4 x 10 -19 sec
9.6 x 10 -22 sec - 1.7 x 10 -18 sec
IT or n possible
α, D, IT, n, p possible
Be-10 1.5 x 10 6 yrs
7.5 x 10 -21 sec
1.6 x 10 -21 sec - 1.9 x 10 -20 sec
Be-11 13.8 sec
2.1 x 10 -21 sec - 1.2 x 10 -13 sec
Be-12 21.3 ms β-
Be-13 2.7 x 10 -21 sec believed n
Be-14 4.4 ms β-

Isotope Sources

Beryllium forms in stars, but the radioactive isotopes don't last long.  Primordial beryllium consists entirely of the one stable isotope, beryllium-9. Beryllium is a mononuclidic and monoisotopic element. Beryllium-10 is produced by cosmic ray spallation of oxygen in the atmosphere. 


  • Haynes, William M., ed. (2011). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (92nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 1439855110.
  • Weast, Robert (1984). CRC, Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Boca Raton, Florida: Chemical Rubber Company Publishing. ISBN 0-8493-0464-4.
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Beryllium Isotopes." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). Beryllium Isotopes. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Beryllium Isotopes." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 18, 2021).