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Magnesium is a soft, silvery metal that’s used in many industrial compounds. The odourless powder can be found in nature as the mineral magnesite and can also be produced by carbon dioxide reacting with magnesium compounds. It’s a powerful reducing agent and is used to produce other metals and a variety of industrial products including paints, plastics, rubbers, glass, and pharmaceuticals. It’s also a common ingredient in foods like chocolate and yoghurt. Magnesium has a number of important health benefits and is vital to the body’s ability to function normally.
A new isotope of magnesium with 24 neutrons – rather than the usual 12 – has been discovered in a sample from the Earth’s crust. The discovery may shed light on how atoms in the element are put together.
The new isotope has been named mg 24, and it is thought to be formed by the radioactive decay of magnesium-26. The discovery could help scientists better understand how atoms in other elements are made up.
The research team analysed mg 24 from the natural environment using a Thermo Scientific Neptune MC-ICP-MS equipped with an X-version Ni sampler and skimmer cones. A total of ten pairs of calibrator and unknown samples were measured, with each run consisting of two cycles – a 15 s on-peak baseline measurement followed by 50 s data collection in clean 5% v/v HNO3. The calibration sample was tuned to give a d25Mg value close to that of the unknown sample.