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Questions on synthesizing Fluorine 18

  1. May 28, 2010 #1
    I have a couple questions but first some background:

    Fluorine 18 is used in PET scans as a beta+ emitter. Generally it is created with an 11-18 MeV cyclotron by bombarding Oxygen 18 with protons. I read a paper that said there was an alternative way to produce F 18 by the NEON-20(DEUTERON, ALPHA)FLUORINE-18 reaction that only requires about 1-3 MeV. My question is, are there other ways that any of you know of to transmute a relatively stable isotope into F 18 by, say neutron bombardment?

    Another question:
    If you wrap Americium 241 with Beryllium foil you create a neutron source that gives off about 5 MeV neutrons. What's neat about that is it's all passive--nothing to plug in, it just works. Is there a way that you can create a Deuteron emitter that works just as simply?


  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2010 #2
    Natural, stable F is 19F. 18F has one less neutron for that number of protons, which is why it decays by positron emission. Because it's on the neutron-poor side of the line of optimal stability, you really can't produce it by irradiating a target material with neutrons.

    A deuteron is quite an unstable nucleus - it has relatively low binding energy per nucleon, which is why it likes to react with other light nuclei in reactions such as D-D and D-T fusion, for example.

    Because it's relatively weakly bound, it's very unlikely to be found as the product of a nuclear reaction, analogous to the 9Be(alpha, n)12C reaction that goes on inside an alpha-Be neutron source.

    To make a source of energetic deuterons, you ionise deuterium gas within the ion source of a particle accelerator such as a cyclotron, just as you would with unenriched hydrogen if you were using a proton beam.
  4. May 29, 2010 #3
    Thank you Minerva. Looks like good info.

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