Isotopes[edit | edit source]
Two atoms are considered to be the same element if they have the same number of protons (atomic number). However, they do not have to have the same number of neutrons or overall atomic mass. Atoms which have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. For example, the hydrogen atom has one proton and no neutrons. Therefore its atomic number is Z=1 and atomic mass is A=1. If a neutron is added to the hydrogen nucleus, then a new atom is formed with atomic mass A=2 but atomic number is still Z=1. This atom is called deuterium and is an isotope of hydrogen.