Uses of alpha particles, especially in nuclear reaction studies and medical radionuclide production
Alpha particles exhibit three important characteristics: scattering, ionisation and activation. This article briefly discusses those properties and outlines their major applications. Among others, α-particles are used in elemental analysis, investigation and improvement of materials properties, nuclear reaction studies and medical radionuclide production. The latter two topics, dealing with activation of target materials, are treated in some detail in this paper. Measurements of excitation
... ions of α-particle induced reactions shed some light on their reaction mechanisms, and studies of isomeric cross sections reveal the probability of population of high-spin nuclear levels. Regarding medical radionuclides, an overview is presented of the isotopes commonly produced using α-particle beams. Consideration is also given to some routes which could be potentially useful for production of a few other radionuclides. The significance of α-particle induced reactions to produce a few high-spin isomeric states, decaying by emission of low-energy conversion or Auger electrons, which are of interest in localized internal radiotherapy, is outlined. The α-particle beam, thus broadens the scope of nuclear chemistry research related to development of non-standard positron emitters and therapeutic radionuclides.