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ISOTOPE CONTACTS

History

 

Proton-induced nuclear reactions at 800 and 100 megaelectronvolts (MeV). At energies of up to 100 MeV, protons cause the release of one or several neutrons and sometimes the release of a proton or an alpha particle in addition to neutrons. At 800 MeV, protons include spallation reactions that break apart the nucleus into chunks or cause large numbers of neutrons and smaller numbers of protons to evaporate from the nucleus.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory has produced radioactive isotopes for medicine and research since the mid-1970s, when targets were first irradiated using the 800 MeV proton beam from the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF). Those target irradiations continued through the 1990s at LAMPF and its successor organization, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). The Los Alamos program has supplied a wide range of radioisotopes to medical researchers and other scientists all over the world. Throughout its history, the Los Alamos program has been a leader in developing and producing new and unique isotopes for research and development. The changing mission for the accelerator facility in the early 1990s provided an opportunity to upgrade and improve the irradiation capabilities of the Los Alamos radioisotope program. This resulted in the Isotope Production Facility (IPF) construction project, which focused on building a new target area dedicated to isotope production and research. The IPF facility utilizes a 100 MeV proton beam extracted from the main LANSCE accelerator and directed to a modern target irradiation facility.

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