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A thorium test foil target for proof-of-concept actinium-225 production

In addition to our routine isotope products, the LANL Isotope Program is focused on developing the next suite of isotopes and services to meet the Nation's emerging needs. The LANL Isotope Program's R&D strategy is focused on four main areas (see article list below for recent efforts in these areas):


Medical Applications are a key focus for research including the development of new isotopes for medical imaging and therapy. Recent efforts include investigations into cross section measurements for production of actinium-225 to validate new production methods, accelerator-based production of high specific activity rhenium-186, and production of selenium-72 as the parent isotope in a novel Se-72/As-72 generator.

Modeling capability includes mechanical, thermal hydraulic analysis of targets as well as predictions of isotope yields based proton and secondary neutron interactions.


Fundamental Nuclear Physics Studies are centered on isotopes for unique cross section measurements to support astrophysics and fundamental nuclear physics studies. Radioactive isotopes are manufactured into targets for additional experiments and for additional experimental testing. Additional focus is dedicated to measurement of production cross sections for a variety of previously uncharacterized isotopes in energy region of 40-800 MeV (H+).

National Security Applications are being studied with special focus on production of isotopes to meet a variety of emerging mission needs including particular focus on environmental tracers and calibration isotopes relevant to the forensics community.


Process Development Improvement focuses on the development of cutting edge targetry (modeling, design, and fabrication) for materials able to withstand the high IPF beam currents as well as the development of new chemical processing technology involving automated systems that will enable enhanced isotope purification.

The LANL Isotope Program is committed to the development of projects that advance the nation‘s knowledge base in the core science and engineering fields that make isotopes available for research. Additionally, we are committed to the development of the underpinning science of isotope applications, and to fostering the skills for the next generation of scientists interested in these fields. Interested students, postdocs and academic/industry collaborators are encouraged to contact us regarding our established and emerging research portfolio.


Recent Publications:


Radiochemical study of Re/W adsorption behavior on a strongly basic anion exchange resin Gott M D, Ballard B D, Redman L N, Maassen J R, Taylor W A, Engle J W, Nortier F M, Birnbaum E R, John K D, Wilbur D S, Cutler C S, Ketring A R, Jurisson S S, Fassbender M E Radiochimica Acta, accepted 19 September 2013.


Fission fragments produced from proton irradiation of thorium between 40 and 200 MeV Engle J W, Mashnik S G, Weidner J W, Fassbender M E, Bach H T, Ullmann J L, Couture A J, Bitteker L J, Gulley M S, John K D, Birnbaum E R, Nortier F M Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 2013, 109, 14- 17.


Proton Irradiation Parameters and Chemical Separation Procedure for the Bulk Production of High-Specific-Activity 186gRe Using WO3 targets M.E. Fassbender, B. Ballard, E.R. Birnbaum, J.W. Engle, K.D. John, J.R. Maassen, F.M. Nortier, J. W. Lenz, C.S. Cutler, A.R. Ketring, S.S. Jurisson, D.S. Wilbur Radiochimica Acta, 2013, 101, 339-346.


Cross Sections from Proton Irradiation of Thorium at 800 MeV J.W. Engle, S. Mashnik, J.W Weidner, L.E. Wolfsberg, M.E. Fassbender, K. Jackman, L.J. Bitteker, J.L. Ullman, M. Gulley, C. Pillai, K.D. John, E.R. Birnbaum, F.M. Nortier Phys. Rev. C 2013, 88, 014604


Purification of 242Pu by Irradiation with Thermal Neutrons J.W. Engle, F.M. Nortier, J. Rau, K.D. John, E.R. Birnbaum and H. Trellue Nucl. Instr. Meth. B, 2013, 298, 70-75.


Producing 163Ho for Micro-Calorimetric Electron Capture Spectroscopy to Measure the Mass of the Neutrino J.W. Engle, E.R. Birnbaum, K.D. John, M.W. Rabin, F.M. Nortier Nucl. Instr. Meth. B 2013, 311, 131-138.


Improving the survivability of Nb-encapsulated Ga targets for the production of Ge-68 H.T. Bach, T.N. Claytor, J.F. Hunter, E.R. Olivas, C.T. Kelsey, K.D.John, F.M. Nortier, M.A. Connors, W.H. Runde, C. Moddrell, J. Lenz Nucl. Instr. Meth. B, 2013, 299, 32-41.


Proton Beam Simulation with MCNPX: Germanium Metal Activation Estimates Below 30 MeV Relevant to the Bulk Production M. Fassbender, W. Taylor, D. Vieira, M. Nortier, H. Bach, K. John Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 2012, 70, 72-75


Selenium-72 Formation via natBr(p,x) Induced by 100 MeV Protons: Steps Towards a Novel 72Se/72As Generator System B. Ballard, D. Wycoff, E.R. Birnbaum, K.D. John, W.A. Taylor, F.M. Nortier, J.W. Lenz, S.S. Jurisson, C.S. Cutler, M.E. Fassbender Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 2012, 70, 595-601


225Ac and 223Ra Production Via 800 MeV Proton Irradiation of Natural Thorium Targets J.W. Weidner, S.G. Mashnik, K.D. John, B. Ballard, E.R. Birnbaum, L.J. Bitteker, A. Couture, M.E. Fassbender, G.S. Goff, R. Gritzo, F. Hemez, J.L. Ullmann, L.E. Wolfsberg, and F.M. Nortier Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 2012, 70, 2590-2595


Radioarsenic from a Portable Se-72/As-72 Generator: A Current Perspective B. Ballard, E.R. Birnbaum, K.D. John, F.M. Nortier, D. R. Phillips, M.E. Fassbender Current Radiopharmaceuticals, 2012, 5, 264-270.


Proton-induced Cross Sections Relevant to Production of 225Ac and 223Ra in Natural Thorium Targets Below 200 MeV J.W. Weidner, S.G. Mashnik, K.D. John, F. Hemez, B. Ballard, H. Bach, E.R. Birnbaum, L.J. Bitteker, A. Couture, D. Dry, M.E. Fassbender, M.S. Gulley, K.R. Jackman, J.L. Ullmann, L.E. Wolfsberg, and F.M. Nortier Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 2012, 70, 2602-2607


Cross Sections from 800 MeV Proton Irradiation of Terbium J.W. Engle, S. Mashnik, H. Bach, A. Couture, R. Gritzo, D. M. Smith, L.J. Bitteker, J.L. Ullman, M. Gulley, C. Pillai, K.D. John, E.R. Birnbaum, F.M. Nortier Nucl. Phys. A, 2012, 893, 87-100

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