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'Weighing' atoms with electrons

The different elements found in nature each have their distinct isotopes. For carbon, there are 99 atoms of the lighter stable carbon isotope 12C for each 13C atom, which has one more neutron in its nucleus. Apart from this natural variation, materials can be grown from isotope-enriched chemicals. This allows scientists to study how the atoms arrange into solids, for example to improve their synthesis.
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