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Nuclear Physics Gamma-ray Imaging System for Real-Time Rare Isotope Harvesting, Monitoring and Radiochemical Separation – NP Imager
Phone: (865) 481-3725
Phone: (865) 481-3725
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Nuclear Physics Research supports user facilities studying the physics of rare radioisotopes. These user facilities produce sufficient quantities of these rare radioisotopes to be studied and possibly used for new applications. The DOE Office of Nuclear Physics Isotope Program supports the US supply of many important uncommon isotopes that require unique DOE facilities for their production. Both the Nuclear Physics Research and Isotope programs necessarily involve unknown spatial distributions of radioisotope mixtures that cannot be readily observed by conventional nuclear-detection means. The NP Imager to be developed here is a high-resolution spectroscopic imaging instrument capable of viewing and locating the exact spatial extent of individual radioisotopes produced by these DOE programs. The NP Imager will be iteratively developed by imaging and quantifying radioisotope distributions currently produced at DOE facilities to determine the optimum system design to be prototyped and tested during Phase II. The uncommon and rare isotopes produced by DOE facilities require a special NP Imager system to allow DOE user groups to observe isotope distributions as they are processed in real time. During Phase I, early existing gamma-ray imaging systems will be taken to various DOE rare-isotope research and uncommon-isotope production facilities to measure the gamma-ray signatures, quantities and spatial extents of the particular isotopes being processed. The data from these measurements will be used to design and eventually prototype the NP Imager for DOE Nuclear Physics applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The NP Imager will naturally contribute to other DOE security-related fields including nuclear weapons non-proliferation, treaty verification, nuclear-explosion monitoring, nuclear materials holdup, nuclear safeguards and diagnostics. However, the NP Imager will be extremely useful to programs outside DOE producing large quantities of isotopes for specific medical procedures. In these circles, the technology developed here also sees a natural foray into nuclear-medicine treatment fields.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *