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Colloquium | Physics Colloquium | Physics Division

Isotope Harvesting at the NSCL and FRIB

PHY Colloquium

Abstract: In addition to producing exotic beams for nuclear science, fast heavy-ion interactions at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) will also lead to by-product accumulation of rare isotopes in controlled water and gas streams. The aim of my group’s research is to develop the necessary techniques to chemically collect and purify those by-product isotopes so that they can be utilized in basic and applied science experiments. While FRIB construction is underway, we are using a new isotope-harvesting beam blocker in low-power tests at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory to try to understand the physical and chemical conditions of the water and gas streams. Initial experiments with 40Ca and 48Ca beams showed that interesting isotopes like 48V, 48Cr, and 47Ca are essentially 100% extractable from irradiated water. Harvested 47Ca was also used as a parent isotope for generating radioisotopically pure 47Sc, which has medical relevance in targeted radiotherapy research. Effects like hydrogen and hydrogen peroxide formation from heavy-ion beam radiolysis followed expected trends. The results are promising so far, but scaling up in beam power is critical — as of now we are still testing at 5 orders of magnitude below the anticipated full power of FRIB.