How can any separation/fractionation of isotopes be mass-independent, if the only difference between two isotopes is mass?

The only clue(s) on Wikipedia mention molecular symmetry, 'forbidden' spin-flip transitions/reactions and photochemical dissociation....

But how is any of that affected by an extra neutron?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It can be direct versus indirect dependence. E.g. centrifuging of UF6 to get 235U, versus electrolysis of water to get heavy water. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Sep 30, 2019 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ The answer is "quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics". A good paper: pnas.org/content/110/44/17708 $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Feb 15, 2020 at 17:26


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