Optimization of the copper-64 production from natural nickel target at a cyclotron

Nuclear physics

The paper is devoted to the problem of the copper-64 isotope production engineering that is important for application in the nuclear medicine. The production is carried out by proton irradiation of a nickel target (a natural mixture of isotopes). For this purpose, the energy dependence of the protons-nickel target interaction cross-sections, protons with initial kinetic energies of 10–15 MeV in this case, has been analyzed. Besides, the half-lives of the resulting isotopes were considered. Based on the analysis, the optimal conditions (the proton beam energy and the waiting time after irradiation) for obtaining the 64Cu isotope from natural nickel were found. It was established that under conditions close to ideal, it could be expected that 64Cu radionuclide purity would be very high and reach at least 99 %. Ideal conditions mean complete separation of nickel and cobalt isotopes from the required copper one.