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Cadmium (Cd) is a chemical element found in a variety of materials. It is a component of nickel-cadmium batteries and electroplating steel, and it has many industrial uses. It is also used as a pigment and in paints, especially a variety of intense colors.
Naturally occurring Cd is composed of 8 isotopes, two of which have natural radioactivity and three of which are predicted to be radioactive but their decays have not been observed due to extremely long half-lives. The two natural radioactive isotopes are 113Cd (beta decay, half-life is 7.7 x 1015 years) and 116Cd (two-neutrino double beta decay, half-life is 2.8 x 1019 years).
There are nine stable cadmium isotopes. These are 110Cd, 111Cd, 112cd, 114Cd, and 116Cd. The even-numbered isotopes are often used to improve the power output and coherence length of lasers.
The radioisotope 113Cd has a very low fission product yield and has a large neutron capture cross section that does not contribute significantly to nuclear waste. It is also an excellent source of gamma radiation for calibration purposes. The radioisotope 114Cd has a long half-life and is very similar to its daughter isotope, 116Cd. It is also a valuable calibration source for 88 keV gamma radiation.