Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Nuclear Chemistry

pp 1935-1976

Radionuclide Generators

  • F. RöschAffiliated withInstitute of Nuclear Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
  • , F. F. KnappJrAffiliated withNuclear Medicine Program, Nuclear Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory


Radionuclide generator systems continue to play a key role in providing both diagnostic and therapeutic radionuclides for various applications in nuclear medicine, oncology, and interventional cardiology. Although many parent/daughter pairs have been evaluated as radionuclide generator systems, there are a relatively small number of generators, which are currently in routine clinical and research use. Essentially every conceivable approach has been used for parent/separation strategies, including sublimation, thermochromatographic separation, solvent extraction, and adsorptive column chromatography. The most widely used radionuclide generator for clinical applications is the 99Mo/99mTc generator system, but recent years have seen an enormous increase in the use of generators to provide therapeutic radionuclides, which has paralleled the development of complementary technologies for targeting agents for therapy and in the general increased interest in the use of unsealed therapeutic radioactive sources. More recently, use of the 68Ge/68Ga generator is showing great potential as a source of positron-emitting 68Ga for positron emission tomography (PET)/CT imaging. Key advantages for the use of radionuclide generators include reasonable costs, the convenience of obtaining the desired daughter radionuclide on demand, and availability of the daughter radionuclide in high specific activity, no-carrier added form.