, Volume 219, Issue 2, pp 165-176

Aluminum-26: A nuclide for all seasons

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Abstract

The long-lived26Al was discovered in a search for a tracer isotope of the last element for which at least one was available, but it has tumed out to have a number of other scientific applications in addition. Discussed will be: discovery and properties of26Al;26Al as a γ-ray standard; cosmic-ray-induced26Al in meteorites, lunar matter, and terrestrial materials; extinct natural radioactivity of26Al in meteorites and live26Al in the early Solar System; 1.81-MeV γ-radiation from26Al in interstellar space; and26Al as a tracer isotope, especially in biology and medicine. Some of these applications are possible because of non-destructive low-level γ-ray spectrometry, and some because of accelerator mass spectrometry of extremely small amounts of the nuclide.