The production of Ar-37 using a thermal neutron reactor flux

Abstract

Ar-37 has been prepared from micron- and nano- diameter CaO by irradiation in the predominantly thermal flux of a SLOWPOKE-2 reactor. A polyether ether ketone irradiation vial facilitates irradiation in vacuo to yield radio-argon as the sole gaseous product. Gamma-emitting Ar-41(T1/2 = 110 min) is used to infer Ar-37 activity, although 40Ar(n, γ)41Ar also occurs as a result of air entrapped within the CaO matrix. Less air is present in the nano-CaO matrix and more radio-argon is liberated to the gas phase. Using nano-CaO, 96 ± 10% of predicted Ar-41 is observed following Ar-41 diffusion to an un-irradiated container.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the technical staff at the Royal Military College and Queen’s University for their assistance. Also, the authors acknowledge financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), through Grant No. 385857-2010 RGPIN.

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Correspondence to D. G. Kelly.

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Kelly, D.G., Arnaud, Q., Brossard, A.E. et al. The production of Ar-37 using a thermal neutron reactor flux. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 318, 279–285 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-018-6130-8

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Keywords

  • Isotope production
  • Argon-37
  • Thermal neutrons
  • SLOWPOKE-2
  • Nanoparticle