The lithium isotope ratio in stars can be determined from high resolution observations of the profile of the Li I 6707 Å absorption line. Earlier studies of old F and G stars (Andersen et al. 1984, Maurice et al. 1984, Pilachowski et al. 1989) have led to upper limits of 6Li/7Li ranging from 0.05 to 0.10. Recently, Smith, Lambert & Nissen (1993) seem to have detected 6Li in HD 84937 - a metal-poor turnoff star with Teff ⋍ 6200 K and [Fe/H] ⋍ —2.4. An isotope ratio 6Li/7Li = 0.05 ± 0.02 was determined (see Fig. 1) The detection has been confirmed by Hobbs & Thorburn (1994), who derived 6Li/7Li = 0.07 ± 0.03. The main contribution to the quoted (1σ) errors comes from the noise in the spectrum (S/N = 400) and possible errors in the Doppler broadening of the Li line (Nissen 1994). This broadening is due to stellar rotation and macro-turbulent motions in the stellar atmosphere and can be determined from the profiles of unblended metallic absorption lines.
As discussed in detail by Steigman et al. (1993) the presence of 6Li in the atmosphere of HD 84937 is consistent with the measured Be abundance (Boesgaard & King 1993) within the context of i) Standard Big Bang nucleosynthesis, ii) Pop. II cosmic ray nucleosynthesis and iii) standard (non-rotating) models for Li depletion. In particular, Steigman et al. derive D6 > 0.2, where D6 is the depletion factor for 6Li. As shown by Chaboyer (1994) standard stellar evolution models with new opacities predict D6≃ 0.4 for turnoff stars and subgiants with Teff > 5900 K. The same models predict D7 ≃ 1.0, i.e. no 7Li depletion for main sequence stars as well as subgiants with Teff ≥ 5800 K.