9 May 2013 The production of patient dose level 99mTc medical radioisotope using laser-driven proton beams
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The medical isotope 99mTc (technetium) is used in over 30 million nuclear medical procedures annually, accounting for over 80% of the worldwide medical isotope usage. Its supply is critical to the medical community and a worldwide shortage is expected within the next few decades as current fission reactors used for its generation reach their end of life. The cost of build and operation of replacement reactors is high and as such, alternative production mechanisms are of high interest. Laser-accelerated proton beams have been widely discussed as being able to produce Positron Emission Tomography (PET) isotopes once laser architecture evolved to high repetition rates and energies. Recent experimental results performed on the Vulcan Laser Facility in the production of 99mTc through 100Mo (p,2n) 99mTc demonstrate the ability to produce this critical isotope at the scales required for patient doses using diode pumped laser architecture currently under construction. The production technique, laser and target requirements are discussed alongside a timeline and cost for a prototype production facility.
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R. Clarke, R. Clarke, S. Dorkings, S. Dorkings, D. Neely, D. Neely, I. Musgrave, I. Musgrave, "The production of patient dose level 99mTc medical radioisotope using laser-driven proton beams", Proc. SPIE 8779, Laser Acceleration of Electrons, Protons, and Ions II; and Medical Applications of Laser-Generated Beams of Particles II; and Harnessing Relativistic Plasma Waves III, 87791C (9 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2016971; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2016971

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