Helium Isotopes

Radioactive Decay and Half-Life of Isotopes of Helium

This is a periodic table tile for the element helium.
This is a periodic table tile for the element helium. Todd Helmenstine

It takes two protons to make a helium atom. The difference between isotopes is the number of neutrons. Helium has seven known isotopes, ranging from He-3 to He-9. Most of these isotopes have multiple decay schemes where the decay type depends on the overall energy of the nucleus and its total angular momentum quantum number.

This table lists helium isotopes, half-life, and type of decay:

IsotopeHalf-LifeDecay
He-3StableN/A
He-4Stable
≈ 0.5 x 10-21 sec - 1 x 10-21 sec
N/A
p or n
He-51 x 10-21 secn
He-60.8 sec
5 x 10-23 sec - 5 x 10-21 sec
β-
n
He-73 x 10-22 sec - 4 x 10-21 secn
He-80.1 sec
0.5 x 10-21 sec - 1 x 10-21 sec
β-
n/α
He-9unknownunknown
 
p
n
α
β-
proton emission
neutron emission
alpha decay
beta- decay
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Helium Isotopes." ThoughtCo, Mar. 14, 2017, thoughtco.com/isotopes-of-helium-607735. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, March 14). Helium Isotopes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/isotopes-of-helium-607735 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Helium Isotopes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/isotopes-of-helium-607735 (accessed January 23, 2018).