Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Radiotracer Decay - What's Left?

  1. Feb 27, 2008 #1
    Greetings all. I'm a just a chemist banging my head about some what seems to me as fundamentally a nuclear physics question, so please bear with me.

    If you have a molecule bearing a radioactive atom, a PET radiotracer, say F-18 FDG or some such beast, and it decays (to O-18 correct?) what exactly happens to the entire molecule? Another way of putting it is: As the positron-neutrino pair is released, is the rest of the tracer molecule blown apart by kinetic energy from the decay event?
    Or am I thinking too much in a classical sense and you are left with a molecule happily bearing O-18 rather than F-18?
    And lastly, does the answer depend on what type of decay is occurring?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2008 #2

    malawi_glenn

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    It depends on the electron configuration of the radioactive elements daugher.

    You can look on wikipedia for example, on all decay modes. Then there are things like "Internal conversion", "electron capture"; which changes the electron configuration of the daugher atom.
     
  4. Mar 12, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the reply! So it looks like this was the wrong place to post (sorry about that). I have asked people here in radiochemistry and medical physics and I still am left without an answer, though. Oh well.
     
  5. Mar 12, 2008 #4
    I'm not a radiochemist, but I believe that most of the time the daughter product dissociates from the tagged molecule/pharmaceutical (which remains intact)
     
  6. Mar 14, 2008 #5
    Hello Chyral,

    I would say that the recoiling of the nucleus is negligible (specially for F) wrt the energy of positron-neutrino pair. In some way, that's why you can do imaging.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Radiotracer Decay - What's Left?
  1. Decay and atoms (Replies: 2)

  2. Beta+ Decay (Replies: 15)

  3. Decay Width (Replies: 1)

Loading...