Linear accelerator as an ion energy booster for a Z-pinch device


A research effort led by Dr. David Westerly, Dr. Reza Alibazi Behbahani, and Dr. Quentin Diot have developed a device with the capability of generating radioisotopes on-site for nuclear medicine applications. This technology couples a pulsed plasma ion source device with a pulse line ion accelerator (PLIA) in order to create a more cost-efficient alternative of producing tracers to the current cyclotron set up. In this device, a dense mass of protons and neutrons is accelerated by an electric field produced by a charged helical coil which bombards a specific gaseous target to generate the desired isotopes. This method can provide hospitals and imaging facilities with a reliable, on-hand source of important imaging tracers without the possibility of disruptions in the supply chain nor delay in patient care. Futhermore, greater access to on-site radioisotope production can be achieved in areas where the traditional cyclotron method is not feasible due to either cost and/or infrastructure. This technology would be especially desirable for the on-site production of short half-life isotopes, like F-18 and O-15, which have half-lives of 2 hours and 2 minutes, respectively. Such a device would provide patients in rural areas much needed access to important short half-life isotopes for diagnostic imaging. The group has shown acceleration of ions to a flux of 1 MeV, amounting to a beam with energy on the order of tens of MW. Comparable to a 100 kJ plasma source, this device allows for a two order of magnitude increase in plasma efficiency and production of an ultra-high power ion beam using relatively low-cost hardware. The group is currently demonstrating the production of isotopes including, C-11, N-13, O-15, and F-18.


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Medical Devices
For Information, Contact:
Doreen Molk
University of Colorado
David Westerly
Quentin Diot
Reza Alibazi Behbahani
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