The article discusses Comecer’s Alceo solid target processing system and was written in collaboration with the University of Bologna
Comecer has shared a recent scientific study that mentions the growing demand of radionuclides for medical applications.
With the growing demand of radionuclides for medical applications and the increasingly required high-quality standards, it has become necessary to look for new and efficient production systems.
One of the methods under development for finding reliable and cost-effective solutions in several industrial contexts is represented by the “digital twin” philosophy of design - the virtual representation of a physical entity of an arbitrarily complex system. For the actual problem, the innovation stands on the analysis of the beam-target system model.
Looking at cyclotron solid targets, uncertainties of the particle beam, material composition and geometry play a crucial role in determining the results
More specifically, looking at a cyclotron as a beam source (a quite standard one) coupled with a solid target, the design involves a quite complex configuration space, such as the source particle beam spectrum characterisation, the material composition and characteristics of the target hosting device (the “shuttle”) and details like target tilting, shape, and thickness, degrader foil composition, all playing a crucial role regarding the production efficiency of the whole chain.
As reference case-study a very peculiar and well conceptualised system, Alceo, has been considered. Indeed, starting from 2008, Comecer has effectively prototyped and built an automated system implementing the Alceo concept, which is based on the coupling between a beam extracted from a medical cyclotron and a suitably designed irradiation unit hosting a shuttle supporting a solid target.
The extract read: “One method for finding reliable and cost-effective solutions for designing radioisotope production systems is represented by the “digital twin” philosophy of design. Looking at cyclotron solid targets, uncertainties of the particle beam, material composition and geometry play a crucial role in determining the results. The difference between what has been designed and what can be effectively manufactured, where processes such as electroplating are poorly controllable and generate large non-uniformities in deposition, must also be considered.”