Tb 161
6.95 d
β- 0.5, 0.6...
γ 26, 49, 75...

Chemical properties

Tb-161 is a radiolanthanide, most often in trivalent state and chemically very similar to lutetium. The ionic radius of Tb3+ is 92 pm, i.e. just 7% larger than Lu3+, which explains that macrocyclic chelators suitable for Lu-177 can be directly employed for Tb-161 too, in particular DOTA, but also others . Also Tb-161 radiolabelling of heat-sensitive molecules has been reported .

Nuclear properties

Tb-161 decays by β- emission with a half-life of 6.953(2) days to stable Dy-161. Its half-life is marginally (<5%) larger than that of Lu-177. In addition to β- emission it shows ample emission of low energy conversion and Auger electrons , thus emitting in total about 2.27 electrons (with energies above 3 keV) per decay.

Moreover Tb-161 emits γ- and X-rays, notably 43.1(5) % around 48(+/-10%) keV and 10.3(2) % at 74.6 keV . Both energies make Tb-161 suitable for SPECT imaging.

The mean electron energy emitted per decay is 197 keV, the mean photon energy per decay is 35 keV or 37 keV considering the newly measured photon intensities [, complemented by Evaluated Nuclear Structure Data File (ENSDF) for photons below 45 keV].


Tb-161 is produced indirectly by thermal neutron irradiation of enriched Gd-160 oxide targets in the research reactors of the PRISMAP network: RHF at ILL, BR2 at SCK CEN and MARIA at NCBJ, or the SINQ spallation neutron source at PSI. The short-lived Gd-161 produced upon neutron capture of Gd-160 decays quickly (T1/2=3.66 min) to Tb-161 via β-minus decay. A radiochemical Tb/Gd separation via cation exchange and extraction chromatography leads to n.c.a. Tb-161 . The effective specific activity of such produced n.c.a. Tb-161 is comparable to that of commercially available n.c.a. Lu-177 (EndolucinBeta®) .


Radiochemical separations are performed at the facilities PSI Radiochemistry Laboratory (PSI, Villigen, Switzerland), SCK CEN (Mol, Belgium) or POLATOM (NCBJ, Otwock-Swierk, Poland). Activity will be shipped from one of these locations to the users in form of TbCl3 solution, ready for labelling of e.g. DOTA-compounds.

Examples of use

  • Tb-161 is part of the terbium radionuclide quadruplet .
  • Due to the strong similarities of chemical and nuclear properties of Tb-161 and Lu-177, Tb-161 is considered a logic evolution from Lu-177, increasing the local dose deposition in therapeutic applications with respect to the latter.
  • Dosimetric calculations show that at short distances (below about 0.1 mm) the dose deposition per decay is more than doubled with respect to Lu-177 .
  • The therapeutic benefit of Tb-161 over Lu-177 has been demonstrated preclinically with different compounds .
  • The preclinical SPECT imaging capabilities of Tb-161 have been demonstrated in different settings .
  • Tb-161 and Lu-177 emit photons of sufficiently distinct energies to enable simultaneous SPECT imaging with both radionuclides .
  • A clinical SPECT/CT protocol has been proposed for imaging with Tb-161 .
  • A first-in-human application of Tb-161-DOTATOC has been reported including clinical SPECT/CT imaging up to 113 h post injection .
  • Tb-161 is also suited as source for Mößbauer spectroscopy , a highly sensitive technique to characterize the chemical state and chemical environment of terbium bound in solids or frozen ex vivo samples.

Purity grades available


No carrier added (n.c.a.)

Production routeGd-160(n,γ)Gd-161(β-)Tb-161
DaughterDecays to stable Dy-161: 100% β-
Half-life6.95 d
Processing2-step column separation
Primary Container2.5 mL borosilicate glass V-vial with silicon rubber screw cap
Product Graden.c.a.
Physical FormLiquid or solid deposit
Chemical FormIn 0.05 M HCl (evaporation to dryness is also possible)
Radioactive Concentration (gamma spectrometry)
AppearanceClear colourless solution
Radionuclide identification (gamma spectrometry)49 keV and 75 keV gamma lines present
Radionuclidic Purity (gamma spectrometry)>99.99% (<0.01% Tb-160)
Chemical purity (ICP-OES)t.b.d.
Molar activity (ICP-OES)>500 GBq/µmol
Apparent Molar ActivityLabelling up to 100 MBq/nmol DOTANOC, DOTATATE or p-SCN-Bn-DOTA
Microbiological qualityn.a.
Bacterial endotoxinn.a.
pH (pH strips)n.a.
Additional information
Activity available~GBq (depends on PRISMAP lab) monthly (planning in advance)
Activity limit for UN2910 (excepted package) shipment0.7 GBq in dry state or 70 MBq in liquid form
Other information


  • β-therapy

Point of supply

  • Villigen, Switzerland
  • Otwock-Swierk, Poland
  • Mol, Belgium

Involved production facilities

SCK CEN, Belgium
ILL, France
PSI, Switzerland
NCBJ, Poland

Involved biomedical facilities

To find out in which biomedical facilities you can use this radionuclide, contact the helpdesk.