Magnetron sputtering is proposed here as an innovative method for the deposition of a material layer onto an appropriate backing plate for cyclotron solid targets aimed at medical radioisotopes production. In this study, a method to deposit thick, high-density, high-thickness-uniformity, and stress-free films of high adherence to the backing was developed by optimizing the fundamental deposition parameters: sputtering gas pressure, substrate temperature, and using a multilayer deposition mode, as well. This method was proposed to realize Mo-100 and Y-nat solid targets for biomedical cyclotron production of Tc-99m and Zr-89 radionuclides, respectively. The combination of all three optimized sputtering parameters (i.e., 1.63 × 10−2
mbar Ar pressure, 500 °C substrate temperature, and the multilayer mode) allowed us to achieve deposition thickness as high as 100 µm for Mo targets. The 50/70-µm-thick Y targets were instead realized by optimizing the sputtering pressure only (1.36 × 10−2
mbar Ar pressure), without making use of additional substrate heating. These optimized deposition parameters allowed for the production of targets by using different backing materials (e.g., Mo onto copper, sapphire, and synthetic diamond; and Y onto a niobium backing). All target types tested were able to sustain a power density as high as 1 kW/cm2
provided by the proton beam of medical cyclotrons (15.6 MeV for Mo targets and 12.7 MeV for Y targets at up to a 70-µA proton beam current). Both short- and long-time irradiation tests, closer to the real production, have been realized.
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