Development of a novel titanium thermal ionization cavity source for electromagnetic radioisotope separation of samarium and other lanthanide isotopes
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An available supply of high specific activity radioisotopes was identified by the Department of Energy as a critical priority to the development and eventual deployment of next-generation medical diagnostic and cancer therapy tools. A radioisotope mass separator, located at the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) Center, was constructed to provide radioactive ion beams for the separation and production of high specific activity lanthanides used in radiopharmacology. A novel thermal ionization cavity (TIC) source capable of seamlessly integrating the irradiation of reactor produced targets with isotope separations was developed. Isotope separations of irradiated samples of samarium with low levels of radioactivity will be performed to assist in the design of an electromagnetic separator facility with commercial scale. To this end, experimental data has been acquired with a custom ionization source designed to operate inside of a constrained set of parameters. These experiments led to the first reported case of a lanthanide ion beam to have been produced from a TIC source constructed completely from titanium. Investigations of the working parameters driving the performance of the source are discussed. Initial experiments with samarium ion beams transmitted through the ion optics of the separator system are also discussed. This work demonstrates the applicability of titanium in the construction of a TIC source designed for separations of radioactive lanthanides.