Nickel-63 microirradiators and applications

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Steeb, Jennifer L.
Janata, Jiří
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In this thesis, manufacturing of microirradiators, electrodeposition of radioactive elements such as Ni-63, and applications of these radioactive sources are discussed. Ni-63 has a half life of 100 years and a low energy beta electron of 67 keV, ideal for low dose low linear energy transfer (LET) research. The main focus of the research is on the novel Ni-63 microirradiator. It contains a small amount of total activity of radiation but a large flux, allowing the user to safely handle the microirradiator without extensive shielding. This thesis is divided into nine chapters. Properties of microirradiators and various competing radioactive sources are compared in the introduction (chapter 1). Detailed description of manufacturing Ni-63 microirradiator using the microelectrode as the starting point is outlined in chapter 2. The microelectrode is a 25 µm in diameter Pt disk sealed in a pulled 1 mm diameter borosilicate capillary tube, as a protruding wire or recessed disk microelectrode. The electrochemically active surface area of each is verified by cyclic voltammetry. Electrodeposition of nickel with a detailed description of formulation of the electrochemical bath in a cold "non-radioactive setting" was optimized by using parameters as defined by pourbaix diagrams, radioactive electroplating of Ni-63, and incorporation of safety regulations into electrodeposition. Calibration and characterization of the Ni-63 microirradiators as protruding wire and recessed disk microirradiators is presented in chapter 3. In chapters 4 through 6, applications of the Ni-63 microirradiators and wire sources are presented. Chapter 4 provides a radiobiological application of the recessed disk microirradiator and a modified flush microirradiator with osteosarcoma cancer cells. Cells were irradiated with 2000 to 1 Bq, and real time observations of DNA double strand breaks were observed. A novel benchtop detection system for the microirradiators is presented in chapter 5. Ni-63 is most commonly measured by liquid scintillation counters, which are expensive and not easily accessible within a benchtop setting. Results show liquid scintillation measurements overestimates the amount of radiation coming from the recessed disk. A novel 10 µCi Ni-63 electrochemically deposited wire acting as an ambient chemical ionization source for pharmaceutical tablets in mass spectrometry is in chapter 6. Typically, larger radioactive sources (15 mCi) of Ni-63 have been used in an ambient ionization scenario. Additionally, this is the first application of using Ni-63 to ionize in atmosphere pharmaceutical tablets, leading to a possible field portable device. In the last chapters, chapters 7 through 8, previous microirradiator experiments and future work are summarized. Chapter 7 illustrates the prototype of the electrochemically deposited microirradiator, the Te-125 microirradiator. In conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Te-125m is a low dose x-ray emitting element determined to be the best first prototype of an electrochemically deposited microirradiator. Manufacturing, characterization, and experiments that were not successful leading to the development of the Ni-63 microirradiator are discussed. In chapter 8, future work is entailed in continuing on with this thesis project. The work presented in the thesis is concluded in chapter 9.
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