Isotope Production at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
LANL’s Isotope Production Facility (IPF) is an intermediate energy proton bombardment facility at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), configured to maximize production of high purity and high specific-activity isotopes. With a high current (250 mA) beam of 100 MeV protons incident on a water-cooled stack of three targets, IPF is well suited to produce specific long-lived isotopes in solid targets. Targets are processed at the nearby Hot Cell Facility and the isolated isotope products are shipped to customers for medical and industrial use, as well as for research into future applications. Currently, beam time is primarily used for the production of 82Sr and 68Ge, both of which are utilized for medical imaging via positron emission tomography (PET). Recent upgrades to IPF will be discussed, including a unique adjustable collimator that will increase overall IPF production capacity by over a factor of 2. In addition, ongoing research is focused on production of a number of other radionuclides; details of progress towards Ci-scale direct production of 225Ac via irradiation of thorium targets will be described.
Eva Birnbaum Program Manager for Isotope Production
Dr. Birnbaum earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Concentration in Technology and Policy Studies from Carleton College, in Minnesota, followed by a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Caltech in Pasadena. She came to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow to work in the areas of environmental remediation and catalysis, and became a staff member in 1998. She worked as a team leader in the trace metals analytical group, and then in the Materials Control Project investigating and mitigating contamination spread from hydrotest experiments at the firing sites. After a short entrepreneurial leave, she returned to LANL in 2010 as the team leader for the Laboratory’s Isotope Program, and became the Program Manager in 2014. The Isotope Program uses the LANSCE accelerator to produce radionuclides to meet the Nation’s needs for applications in medicine, industry, and R&D. As part of her interest in medical applications of radioisotopes, Dr. Birnbaum is exploring the fundamental chemical properties of actinium, an isotope of great interest for the treatment of cancer.