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Innovative Target for Production of Technetium-99m by Biomedical Cyclotron

Legnaro National Laboratories, Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (LNL-INFN), Viale dell’Università 2, 35020 Legnaro PD, Italy
Medical Physics Department, University Hospital “S. Orsola-Malpighi”, 40100 Bologna, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Deceased 16 March 2018
Molecules 2019, 24(1), 25;
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 19 December 2018 / Accepted: 19 December 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
PDF [6529 KB, uploaded 21 December 2018]


Technetium-99m (99mTc) is the most used radionuclide worldwide in nuclear medicine for diagnostic imaging procedures. 99mTc is typically extracted from portable generators containing 99Mo, which is produced normally in nuclear reactors as a fission product of highly enriched Uranium material. Due to unexpected outages or planned and unplanned reactor shutdown, significant 99mTc shortages appeared as a problem since 2008 The alternative cyclotron-based approach through the 100Mo(p,2n)99mTc reaction is considered one of the most promising routes for direct 99mTc production in order to mitigate potential 99Mo shortages. The design and manufacturing of appropriate cyclotron targets for the production of significant amounts of a radiopharmaceutical for medical use is a technological challenge. In this work, a novel solid target preparation method was developed, including sputter deposition of a dense, adherent, and non-oxidized Mo target material onto a complex backing plate. The latter included either chemically resistant sapphire or synthetic diamond brazed in vacuum conditions to copper. The target thermo-mechanical stability tests were performed under 15.6 MeV proton energy and different beam intensities, up to the maximum provided by the available GE Healthcare (Chicago, IL, USA) PET trace medical cyclotron. The targets resisted proton beam currents up to 60 µA (corresponding to a heat power density of about 1 kW/cm2) without damage or Mo deposited layer delamination. The chemical stability of the proposed backing materials was proven by gamma-spectroscopy analysis of the solution obtained after the standard dissolution procedure of irradiated targets in H2O2. View Full-Text
Keywords: cyclotron target; radiopharmaceutical production technology; magnetron sputtering; vacuum brazing cyclotron target; radiopharmaceutical production technology; magnetron sputtering; vacuum brazing

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Skliarova, H.; Cisternino, S.; Cicoria, G.; Marengo, M.; Palmieri, V. Innovative Target for Production of Technetium-99m by Biomedical Cyclotron. Molecules 2019, 24, 25.

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