Investigating Alternative Nuclear Reactions for Medical Isotope Production
The array of radionuclides used for, or considered as good candidates for, nuclear medicine has expanded in
recent years. Of these radionuclides 44Sc and 67Cu have shown great promise for use in diagnostic and
therapeutic applications, respectively. A challenge associated with translating 44Sc and 67Cu from research scale
to long-term medical use is the difficulty in producing each of these radionuclides in large quantities. The
production limitation is due to the low cross sections (the probability) of the nuclear reactions that create the
purist supply of these isotopes. Since production routes using particle beams commonly used for medical
isotopes (protons, neutrons, deuterons) do not result in sufficient cross sections, the proposed work aims to
investigate employing heavy ion beam reactions. Heavy ion beams, such as 7Li, offer the potential to produce
67Cu and 44Ti (44Ti is the 44Sc parent) at higher cross sections. The proposed research will focus on the
measurement of the cross sections for such reactions. Additionally, post irradiation radiochemistry will be
performed so that the final purity of the radionuclides can be compared to the current production methods.
Successful demonstration of higher production rates with comparable radionuclide purity will offer an
additional production route to make these valuable medical isotopes.