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Carbon-14 (C-14), a radioactive isotope of carbon, is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation.
The primary carbon-containing compound in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide, and a very small amount of carbon dioxide contains C-14.
On average, one in every two Australians can expect at some stage in his or her life to undergo a nuclear medicine procedure that uses a radioisotope for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.Atoms containing this unstable combination regain stability by shedding radioactive energy, hence the term radioisotope.The process of shedding the excess radioactive energy is called radioactive decay.The radioactive decay process of each type of radioisotope is unique and is measured with a time period called a half-life.Radioisotopes are an essential part of radiopharmaceuticals.
Scientists look at half-life decay rates of radioactive isotopes to estimate when a particular atom might decay.