Preparation of actinide targets for the synthesis of the heaviest elements
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The heaviest elements are synthesized in heavy-ion induced hot fusion reactions with various actinide targets. Because the actinide material is often available only in very limited amounts, a deposition method with high yields (~90 %) is needed. We report on the production of 244Pu, 243Am, 248Cm, 249Bk, and 249Cf targets on thin Ti backings by molecular plating. Different chemical purification steps using ion chromatographic techniques were applied for the purification of 249Cf and 244Pu. The deposition procedure applied for the production of ~0.4–0.8 mg/cm2 thick targets is described. The deposition yield was determined either by α-particle or γ-ray spectroscopy. Furthermore, neutron activation analysis has been applied in the case of 244Pu, 243Am, and 248Cm. Information about the spatial distribution and homogeneity of the target layer was obtained by radiographic imaging.
KeywordsElectrodeposition Molecular plating Actinides Targets Berkelium Californium
The authors thank the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for providing the 249Cf. Thanks are also due to Robert F. Fairchild II, Naomi E. Reeves, John A. Van Wart and LBNL’s entire Radiation Protection Group of the Environmental Health and Safety Division for their leadership and active support with the preparation and execution of the 249Cf shipment to Germany. For providing the 249Bk the authors thank the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We also thank the Target Laboratory at GSI for providing the Ti-backing foils and the Mechanical Workshop of the Institut für Kernchemie in Mainz for the construction of the plating cells, and A. Vascon for providing Fig. 2.
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