Radioisotope production research

Production of medical radionuclides has always benefited from high level technologies developed in the context of nuclear and accelerator physics research. In particular, some important ISOL technologies adopted for targets, ion sources, and isotope separation demonstrated an enormous potential for medical radionuclides. WP10-JRA2 is organised in three different tasks: target design and characterisation (task 1), ion sources (task 2), and isotope separation techniques (task 3). They are all oriented to improve the scientific instruments and the technologies required for the production of medical radionuclides. This approach will benefit from the collaboration among prestigious international research institutes in the framework of PRISMAP.

Task 1 and task 2 will mainly focus on the optimization of targets and ion sources, respectively, with the aim to increase as much as possible the production rate of specific medical radionuclides. In particular, new high performance materials will be studied and characterized, especially at high temperature ranges. New targets and ion sources will be designed making use of complex multiphysics simulation tools.

The object of task 3 is the strong enrichment of Ca and Ti isotopes from their natural abundance to an abundance useful for radionuclide production in reactors or cyclotrons. Indeed, production of theranostic scandium isotopes (43Sc, 44Sc, 44mSc and 47Sc) relies on the availability of highly enriched Ca or Ti isotopes respectively. With this in mind, task 3 will investigate the enrichment via laser-enhanced isotopically selective condensation, an innovative technique pioneered at EPFL and successfully used in the past for the enrichment of different isotopes.

As a concluding remark, it is clear that WP10-JRA2 will lay the foundations for a structured community of scientists and research engineers deeply focused on the technologies for the production of pure medical radionuclides.

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