In a partnership between the INFN-LNL and the GIP ARRONAX, Gaia Pupillo and Lucia de Dominicis are using the Arronax beam to determine the production cross section of Scandium 47.

At the National Laboratory of Legnaro (LNL) of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), Gaia Pupillo, a physicist, and Lucia de Dominicis, a doctoral student in her 2nd year of thesis at the University of Padova, are taking part in a research project called REMIX, which consists of determining the production cross-section of Scandium 47 in order to optimise particle accelerator production of this promising radioisotope for the implementation of β- immunotherapy. To do this, the young scientists need to carry out series of irradiations of titanium targets by a proton beam, at different energy ranges, and to collect data on the quantity and nature of the Scandium isotopes obtained. So far, the SPES cyclotron at the INFN-LNL is not operative yet, and thus they are carrying out the experimental part of their work at Arronax.

The partnership between their laboratory and the GIP ARRONAX started 10 years ago and, in the framework of REMIX project, they were already welcomed at Arronax on two occasions, in October 2021 and March 2022, to irradiate a Titanium 48 target suitable for the stack foil technique. At the beginning of June 2022, they came back to continue their work and carry out irradiations on a Titanium 50 target. The Italian duo were helped on site by fellow physicists from the Subatech laboratory and GIP ARRONAX to install the device, saving them precious time. In return, the INFN technical teams provided a new collimator and relative support, which can be used for future measurements of the production cross-section for other radioisotopes.

After irradiation, the presence of Scandium isotopes is immediately measured by gamma spectrometry to quantify the presence of Scandium-47, the radioisotope of interest, and other contaminant Sc-radionuclides, such as Scandium-46. As Scandium-46 is produced in small quantities, activity measurements during the night following the proton bombardment and then at one month are necessary and carried out by the GIP ARRONAX teams.

Researchers plan to come back to Arronax in the next few months to complete their measurements of the production cross-section at different energies and, ultimately, to make a detailed comparison of the results obtained on Titanium 48, Titanium 49 and Titanium 50 targets.

Contacts :
Gaia Pupillo, Lucia de Dominicis
Ferid Haddad, Arnaud Guertin