Radiochemistry

Radionuclides are important tools for tracing biological, chemical, and physical processes. FRIB has the potential to supply unique radioisotopes that are otherwise difficult to produce.

A critical new area of opportunity for researchers and innovative businesses is “isotope harvesting.” During operations unused rare isotopes will be “harvested” to provide research quantities to meet critical national needs in areas such cancer research and the environment.

Byproduct radionuclides from FRIB will be collected and purified for use as research tools in areas including:

  • nuclear medicine,
  • biosystems radiotracing, and
  • nuclear data for security applications.

The challenge of obtaining these rare isotopes from FRIB is in the need for rigorous chemical or physical purification of sub-nanogram quantities of individual elements from a complex mixture of spallation and fragmentation products.

FRIB will allow researchers to parse and purify the stock of co-produced radionuclides to obtain both high radionuclidic purity and high specific activity for application in basic science, medical, chemical and biological research. Of particular interest are transition and rare-earth radiometals for use in the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics against invasive disease.