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Properties and data of the isotope 6Li.



Lithium-6 isotope

Lithium-6 is a stable isotope of the chemical element Lithium, which, in addition to the element-specific 3 protons, has 3 neutrons in the atomic nucleus, resulting in the mass number 6. Natural terrestrial lithium is an isotope mixture of 4.85% lithium-6 and 95.15% Lithium-7.

6Li is a primordial nuclide that was largely formed during the Big Bang; a very small percentage comes from the nucleosynthesis of certain stars.

Lithium-6 is of practical importance as a starting material for the production of tritium (H -3) [1]. In addition, the nuclide serves as an absorber of neutrons in nuclear fusion reactors.

See also: list of Lithium isotopes.


General data

Name of the isotope:Lithium-6; Li-6Symbol:6Li or 63LiMass number A:6 (= number of nucleons)Atomic number Z:3 (= number of protons)Neutrons N:3Isotopic mass:6.015122887(9) u (atomic weight of Lithium-6)Nuclide mass:6.0134771 u (calculated nuclear mass without electrons)Mass excess:14.08688 MeVMass defect:0.034346957 u (per nucleus)Nuclear binding energy:31.99398436 MeV (per nucleus)
5.33233073 MeV (average binding energy per nucleon)
Separation energy:SN = 5.66(5) MeV (first neutron)
SP = 4.433(20) MeV (first proton)
Half-life:stableSpin and parity:
(nuclear angular momentum)
1+Isobaric spin: 0Magnetic dipole moment:μ(μN) = +0.822043(3)Charge radius:2.589(39) femtometer fmYear of discovery:1921


Parent Nuclides

Direct parent isotope is: 6He.



Comparison of the natural Lithium isotopes including isotopic abundance (mole fraction of the isotope mixture in percent):


Atomic Mass maQuantityHalf-lifeSpin
Isotopic mixture
6.94 u100 %
Isotope 6Li6.015122887(9) u4.85 %
[1.9 - 7.8 %]
Isotope 7Li7.01600344(3) u95.15 %
[92.2 - 98.1 %]


NMR data

Nuclear magnetic properties of the NMR active Nuclide 6Li

Isotope:6Li-NMRQuantity:4.85 % [1.9 - 7.8 %]Spin:1+Nuclearmagnetic moment
+0.822043(3)Gyromagnetic ratio γ:3.9371 · 107 rad T-1 s-1Nuclear g-factor:gl = 0.822043Quadrupole moment Q:-0.000806(6) barn (100 fm2)Line width parameter (factor):l = 0.03 fm4Resonance frequency:v0 = 6.2661 at 1 TFrequency ratio:Ξ(6Li) = 14.716086 %Relative Sensitivity:0.00850 (H0 = const.)
0.3925 (v0 = const.)
[related to 1H = 1.000]
Reference compound:
Solution of lithium chloride (9.7 m LiCl) in deuterium oxide (D2O).


Isotones and Isobars

The following table shows the atomic nuclei that are isotonic (same neutron number N = 3) and isobaric (same nucleon number A = 6) with Lithium-6. Naturally occurring isotopes are marked in green; light green = naturally occurring radionuclides.


OZIsotone N = 3Isobar A = 6


External data and identifiers

CAS:14258-72-1InChI Key:WHXSMMKQMYFTQS-BJUDXGSMSA-NSMILES:[6Li]PubChem:ID 6337039Adopted Levels, Gammas:NuDat 6Li


Literature and References

[1] - Włodzimierz Makulski:
The Radiofrequency NMR Spectra of Lithium Salts in Water; Reevaluation of Nuclear Magnetic Moments for 6Li and 7Li Nuclei.
In: Magnetochemistry, 4(1), 9, (2018), DOI 10.3390/magnetochemistry4010009.

[2] - T. Giegerich, K. Battes, J. C. Schwenzer, C. Tag:
Development of a viable route for lithium-6 supply of DEMO and future fusion power plants.
In: Fusion Engineering and Design, 149, 111339, (2019), DOI 10.1016/j.fusengdes.2019.111339.

[3] - Leonid B. Krivdin:
Recent advances in the liquid-phase 6,7Li nuclear magnetic resonance.
In: MRC, (2022), DOI 10.1002/mrc.5323.


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Last update: 2023-12-01

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