RADIOACTIVITY

12 SACE PHYSICS-STAGE 2
SECTION 4 TOPIC 3
PRINCE ALFRED COLLEGE
RADIOACTIVITY
Henri Becquerel, a French physicist
was working with potassium uranyl
sulfate (a very fluorescent compound)
in the 1890‟s.
RADIOACTIVITY
He placed samples of the salt on photographic
plate wrapped in light tight black paper. After
leaving it in the sun for a while, the plate was
developed.
As the plate was „fogged‟, he assumed that X-
rays were produced.
RADIOACTIVITY
He repeated the same experiment on a cloudy
day and since there was no sun, there should be
no UV to cause the fluorescence and so no X-
rays produced.
However, the plates were „fogged‟. Becquerel
had stumbled upon the fact that something in the
salt was unstable (Uranium).
RADIOACTIVITY
The reason why the plates were fogged was that
the Uranium was emitting particles to become
more stable.
We call this phenomena radioactivity.
RADIOACTIVITY
The Curies (Marie and Pierre), were interested
in his work and named it “Radioactivity”.
RADIOACTIVITY
They continued the work and managed to
discover two new elements polonium (named
after Marie‟s homeland) and radium (named due
to its intense radioactivity).
RADIOACTIVITY
It has been determined that many isotopes of
radioactive nuclei are unstable. They become
more stable by emitting sub atomic particles or
photons.
Radioactive nuclei decay by the emission of
alpha or beta particles or gamma radiation.
These methods will be covered in more detail
later.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
By comparing stable
nuclei, we can
examine their
neutron/proton ratio.
This is shown on the
graph where protons
are on the x-axis and
neutrons are on the y-
axis. The line shows
stable isotopes.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
Anything off the line
will spontaneously
decay.
For light elements (up
to approx. 20) the N/Z
ratio is close to 1.
Towards the top end,
the ratio is more like
1.6/1.

NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
This suggests that
protons and neutrons
bind in pairs.
However, as the line
curves upwards, more
neutrons are needed
to overcome the
repulsive force
between protons.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
Eventually, at 84 protons, no
amount of neutrons can
dilute the repulsive force and
all elements above Z = 84
are radioactive.
Elements Z = 84 to 92 can
be found in the Earth‟s crust
but above 92 the nuclei are
too unstable to still be
present in the crust.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
Remember, the reason why a nucleus stays
together is because of the strong NUCLEAR
FORCES found between NUCLEONS (Neutrons
and/or protons).
We discussed this in the last topic (topic 2).
The ELECTRICAL REPULSION between like
charged (positive) protons tries to tear the
nucleus apart.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
At low atomic numbers (under 20), the attractive
nuclear forces overcome the repulsive electrical
forces within the nucleus.
The protons and neutrons exist in a 1 to 1 ratio.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
At higher atomic numbers (between 20 and 84),
the nucleus gets larger.
The repulsive electrical forces act between all
protons
The attractive nuclear forces are only found
between adjacent nucleons.
The nucleus needs more neutrons to create a
stronger nuclear force without adding to the
repulsive electrical force.
NEUTRON/PROTON STABILITY
This is why elements with high atomic numbers
have a greater number of neutrons than protons.
Eventually the nucleus gets so large (atomic
number = 84) that no number of neutrons would
create enough of a attractive nuclear force to
counteract the high number of protons.
The nucleus then becomes unstable and will
eventually break apart. This is called
radioactive decay.
THE FOUR TYPES OF
RADIOACTIVE DECAY
There are four types of radioactive decay
included in the syllabus.
They are:
– alpha,
– beta minus
– beta plus
– gamma decay.
ALPHA DECAY
Very heavy nuclei are often unstable as they
contain too many protons.
Typical alpha emitters have an atomic
number > lead (82).
Alpha particles are helium nuclei .
Alpha particles are emitted, as they are
extremely stable. They have high binding
energy.

ALPHA DECAY
When a nucleus undergoes alpha decay, the
parent nucleus will suffer a decrease in atomic
number (Z) of two and a decrease of four in
mass number (A).
The daughter nucleus is now a different element.
Alpha Decay Example

Z
A
Z
A
X Y+ (Note: He)
2
4
2
4
2
4
÷ =
÷
÷
2
4
o o
ALPHA DECAY
An example is:
Parent Daughter

This is a “Nuclear Reaction” as new elements
have been produced.
The daughter nucleus will be more stable than
the parent nucleus (the daughter nucleus has a
lower atomic number).

88
226
2
4
Ra Rn+ He ÷
86
222
ALPHA DECAY
Note, the sum of the atomic numbers and the
mass numbers are the same on both sides of the
equation. Conservation laws still hold.


The above equation is EXOTHERMIC as there is
a loss of mass in the reaction. The energy
produced goes to the alpha particle as kinetic
energy.
88
226
2
4
Ra Rn+ He ÷
86
222
ALPHA DECAY
Alpha particles have a relatively high mass and
so are ejected with a moderate speed, typically
about 2 x 10
7
ms
-1
.
Because their charge is high (2+) and speed low,
they interact with matter easily, thus they are
able to penetrate air only by a few centimetres.
ALPHA DECAY
A thin piece of cardboard is enough to stop a
beam of alpha particles.
As alpha particles do have large amounts of
kinetic energy, they can damage human flesh by
destroying parts of cells on impact.

ALPHA DECAY
When alpha particles come near atoms, they are
strongly ionising.
Their high charge means they can displace
electrons easily leaving behind an ion pair (an
ion and free electron).
This will slow an alpha particle down.


ALPHA DECAY
Alpha particles are emitted with quantised
energy, which suggests that the nucleus may
have a discrete energy level structure.


DISCRETE ENERGY LEVELS
Let‟s take a look
at the alpha
decay of
Radium to
Radon.
Radium decays
to Radon at
different energy
levels.

A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
DISCRETE ENERGY LEVELS
– This suggests that
the nucleons are
arranged in the
nucleus into
energy shells (just
like electrons).

A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
DISCRETE ENERGY LEVELS
o-particles are
ejected at certain
discrete velocities
(energies). The
energy depends on
which level the
Radium decays to
in the Radon.
A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
DISCRETE ENERGY LEVELS
Example: In the
diagram, Ra
226

decays giving off an
o
B
particle that has a
specific Kinetic
Energy when it
decays to Rn
222
in the
2
nd
excited state.
A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
DISCRETE ENERGY LEVELS
The Rn
222
then might
return to the ground
state giving off a
photon of energy in
the MeV range called
a GAMMA PHOTON
(¸)
A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON o DECAY
As alpha particles are positively charged, they
will be deflected by electric fields and magnetic
fields.
The force they experience can be found from F =
Eq.
-ive plate
+ive plate
2
4 ++
He
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON o DECAY
This is in contrast to gamma rays or an x-ray that
would not be deflected by an electric field
because they do not have a charge.
The path of the alpha particle is parabolic. As the
mass of an alpha particle is relatively large, the
acceleration is low compared to other forms of
radiation.

THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON o DECAY
In a magnetic field,
the deflection can be
either upwards or
downwards
(depending on the
direction of the field),
in a circular path. The
force can be found by
F = Bqv.
2
4 ++
He
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON o DECAY
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON o DECAY
Note- gamma photon radiation has no charge,
therefore it is not affected by electric or magnetic
fields, it instead passes straight through them.
Remember that the reason an atom undergoes
alpha decay is because it has too many protons
or neutrons.
It therefore ejects a helium nucleus.
BETA DECAY
Nuclei that have an imbalance of protons or
neutrons can be unstable and also undergo
radioactive decay.
The process involves the change of a proton into
a neutron or more commonly a neutron into a
proton with the ejection of an electron from the
nucleus.
This decay is called beta decay, and the electron
is referred to as a beta particle.
BETA
+

DECAY
BETA
+
DECAY (too
many protons)-
When a nucleus has
to increase its neutron
number to become
more stable, a proton
can spontaneously
change into a
neutron.
Alpha
decay
B
-

B
+

Stable
Isotopes
BETA
+

DECAY
An electron (positively
charged) is ejected with
a neutrino.
The positive electron is
called a positron and is
an example of
antimatter. The atomic
number is reduced by
one but the mass
number is unaffected.


BETA
+

DECAY
On the line stability on
the graph, any atom
below the line would
decay this way.


v + e Y+ X
0
1 + 1
A
Z
A
Z ÷
÷
B
+

BETA
+

DECAY
In the nucleus, the
reaction is:


An example of this is:
Beta + Decay Example

v + e
0
1 +
1
0
1
1
+ ÷ n p
v + e + C N
0
1 +
13
6
13
7
÷
BETA
+

DECAY
Notice that both mass and charge are
conserved.


A „positron‟, a positively charged electron (the
same mass as an electron) is ejected.
The positron is an example of antimatter
(“opposite of”).
This is known as „proton decay”.

v + e + C N
0
1 +
13
6
13
7
÷
BETA
+

DECAY
The positron is known as the B
+
particle.
A Neutrino (v) is also released. We will discuss
the purpose of the Neutrino later in the topic.
Note a new element is formed. There are no
natural positron emitters since positron half-lives
are very small.
Note- as the
13
N might decay into a metastable
form of
13
C, the
13
C could then drop down to a
more stable state, giving off a GAMMA RAY.

BETA
-

DECAY
B
-
DECAY – (Too many
neutrons).
If a neutron is converted
to a proton to become
more stable and
decrease neutron
numbers, a normal
negative electron is
created and the anti
neutrino ( ) is also
ejected.

B
-

_
v
BETA
-

DECAY
This time the atomic
number increases by
one but the mass
number remains
constant.
On the line stability on
the graph, any atom
above the line would
decay this way.
B
-

BETA
-

DECAY
The reaction is…


In the nucleus, the reaction is:


This would be considered to be neutron decay.
_
0
1 - 1
+ e Y+ X v
A
Z
A
Z +
÷
_
0
1 -
1
1
1
0
+ e v + ÷ p n
BETA
-

DECAY
An example of this is:
Beta - Decay Example


The neutron has a half-life of about 1000 seconds (16.5
minutes) while the proton, electron and neutrino are all
stable.
Some recent research suggests the proton has a half -
life of 10
30
years, which is long enough to be of no
concern to us.
_
0
1 -
12
6
12
5
+ e C+ B v ÷
PENETRATING POWERS OF BETA PARTICLES
Once free of the nucleus, beta particles are
found to be more penetrating than alpha
particles.
They have a range of up to several metres in air
but are absorbed by light metals such as
aluminium.
PENETRATING POWERS OF BETA PARTICLES
As they have lower mass than an alpha particle
but the same kinetic energy, they travel at higher
speeds (near speed of light).
As they have high speeds but only a single
charge, they are less interactive with matter so
they are less ionising than alpha particles.
PENETRATING POWERS OF BETA PARTICLES
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON | PARTICLES
Beta particles are charged like alpha particles
and so can be deflected by electric and magnetic
fields.
-ive plate
+ive plate
e
e
-
+
Electron
Positron
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON | PARTICLES
As their charge can be either negative or
positive, they can be deflected towards the
negative or positive plates in a uniform electric
field.

-ive plate
+ive plate
e
e
-
+
THE EFFECTS OF ELECTRIC AND MAGNETIC
FIELDS ON | PARTICLES
In a magnetic field, their paths will be circular.
As their masses are exactly the same, the radius
of curvature will also be exactly the same.

e
e
-
+
Electron
Positron
SUMMARY OF |
+
, |
-
, and o DECAY
The way in which a radioactive isotope decays
can be predicted.
The stability line diagram gives a clue to the
general decay patterns.


SUMMARY OF |
+
, |
-
, and o DECAY
Any nuclei with an
atomic number greater
than 83 will decay by
alpha decay.
Any nuclei with an
excess of neutrons will
decay by beta minus
decay (|
-)
. It is above the
line of stability.
Alpha Decay
SUMMARY OF |
+
, |
-
, and o DECAY
Any nuclei with an
excess of protons
will decay by beta
plus decay (|
+
). It
is below the line of
stability.

SUMMARY OF |
+
, |
-
, and o DECAY
Below is a summary of how an electron can be
ejected from an atom.
(a) Photoelectric effect
(b) Thermionic emission
(c) Radioactive decay
Note (a) and (b) involve outer orbital electrons,
while (c) involves a change in the nucleus.

NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
Beta particles are emitted with a range of
energies up to a maximum of a few MeV.
It seemed strange that the electrons with the
maximum kinetic energy carried away all the
available energy, yet those with less than he
maximum kinetic energy appeared to have
energy missing.
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
This did not obey the law of conservation of
energy.
Other experiments with momentum confirmed
that linear momentum was not conserved.

7
N
14
6
C
14
e
-

Speed and direction
of the electron if
momentum was
conserved.
e
-

Actual speed and
direction of the electron.
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
In 1934 Enrico Fermi developed the
theory of beta decay and that the
conservation laws did hold because
there was a particle that had yet to be
detected carrying the lost energy and
momentum.
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS

He called this particle a neutrino (Italian for „little
neutral one‟).
The antimatter of the neutrino ( ) is the
antineutrino ( ).
v
_
v
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
Using the conservation laws, he postulated the
properties for the neutrino.
  Neutrinos are uncharged. This is
because charge is already conserved. A
neutron decays into a proton and an electron.
  Neutrinos have zero rest mass but
carry energy and momentum. The
conservation laws would not hold otherwise.

NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
  Neutrinos react very weakly with
matter. It took 25 years to detect them and
there are millions of neutrinos that pass
through the Earth from the sun as if the Earth
was not there. This is because they have no
real mass or charge.
– Finding Neutrinos (Open Explorer)
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
  Neutrinos travel at the speed of light.
As they have no mass but have energy, they
must travel at the maximum speed possible -
the speed of light.
NEUTRINOS AND ANTINEUTRINOS
The neutrino was accepted readily as it solved
awkward problems but was not discovered until
1956.
It is given the symbol v (the Greek letter nu) and
has zero atomic number and mass number.
Beta decay can now be more fully described.

GAMMA DECAY
Gamma decay is the release of energy from an
excited nucleus in the form of high-energy
photons and usually accompanies alpha or beta
decay.
Refer to our discussion earlier in the topic where
Radium-226 decays to Radon-222 with the
ejection off an alpha particle PLUS A GAMMA
PHOTON.
GAMMA DECAY
If gamma decay is to
occur, the daughter
nucleus from alpha or
beta decay is left in
an excited state.
To become stable,
energy is released
without a change in
atomic or mass
number.
A
B
C
D
Nucleus Shells
Radon 222
Excited State 3
Radon 222
Ground State
o
A
o
B o
C
o
D
Energy
above
the
ground
state of
Radon
GAMMA DECAY
When caesium-137 beta decays into barium
137, it is usually left in a metastable state (the
nucleus is left in an excited state).
The barium then undergoes gamma decay. (m
indicates an excited nucleus).
GAMMA DECAY
Beta minus decay.

Gamma Decay.
Gamma Decay
_
0
1 -
137
56
137
55
+ e Ba Cs v + ÷
m
56
137
56
137
Ba Ba +
m
÷ ¸
GAMMA DECAY
The half life of the Beta decay is 30.6 years
while the half life of the Gamma decay is only
2.6 minutes.
The energy contained in gamma photons is less
than 1 MeV with values being as low as a few
keV common. The wavelengths of gamma rays
are in the region of 10
-9
to 10
-14
m.
This means the wavelengths of gamma rays and
X-rays are similar, their distinction is their
source.

GAMMA DECAY
X-rays come from electron transitions outside
the nucleus, while gamma rays come from the
nuclear process.
Gamma decay results in several photons of
discrete energies being created so specific
gamma sources will produce specific gamma
photons (a line spectrum).
GAMMA DECAY
The properties of gamma rays include:
  As they are high energy e-m radiation,
they have high frequency and short
wavelength and travel at the speed of light.
This means they are extremely penetrating
like X-rays.
  Their range in air, depending on
frequency, can be a number of metres.
GAMMA DECAY

  They can penetrate several
centimetres of lead or concrete before being
absorbed. 4 cm of lead reduces the intensity
of a gamma ray beam by 10%.
  They carry no charge and are
undeflected by electric and magnetic fields
and are therefore only weakly ionising. They
cannot attract electrons but can knock them
out similar to the photoelectric effect.
Image from Fermi Gamma ray
Telescope (2008)

HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
Radioactive decay is a completely random
process.
No one can predict when a particular nucleus will
decay into its daughter.
Statistics however, allow us to predict the
behaviour of large samples of radioactive
isotopes.
HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
We can define a constant for the decay of a
particular isotope, which is called the half-life.
This is defined as the time it takes for the activity
of the isotope to fall to half of its previous value.
From a nuclear point of view, the half-life of a
radioisotope is the time it takes half of the atoms
of that isotope in a given sample to decay.
The unit for activity, Becquerel (Bq), is the
number of decays per second.




HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
An example would be
the half-life of tritium
(
1
H
3
), which is 12.5
years.
For a 100g sample,
there will be half left
(50g) after 12.5 years.

12.5
years
50 g
HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
After 25 years, one
quarter (25g) will be left.
After 37.5 years there
will be one eighth (12.5g)
and so on.
Animation
Animation 2 (with sound)

25
years
37.5
years
25 g
12.5 g
HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
The decay curve is exponential. The only difference
from one sample to another is the value for the half-life.
NOT EXAMINABLE
If a sample initially contains N
o
atoms, then after n half-
lives the number of remaining atoms, N, will be given
by:

or


n
o
N N
|
.
|

\
|
=
2
1
N N
o
n
=
÷
.2
HALF-LIFE AND ACTIVITY
The half-life does not indicate when a particular
atom will decay but how many atoms will decay
in a large sample.
Because of this, there will always be a „bumpy‟
decay for small samples.
EXAMPLE 1
(a) Radium-226 has a half-life of 1622 years. A
sample contains 25g of this radium isotope.
How much will be left after 3244 years?
(b) How many half-lives will it take before the
activity of the sample falls to below 1% of its
initial activity? How many years is this?
EXAMPLE 1 SOLUTION
(a) 3244 years is 2 half lives (2 x 1622)
N= N
o
(1/2)
n

= 25 x (1/2)
2

= 25 x (1/4)
=6.25
EXAMPLE 1 SOLUTION
(b) The activity of a radioactive sample is
directly proportional to the number of
remaining atoms of the isotope. After t
1/2
, the
activity falls to ½ the initial activity. After 2
t
1/2
, the activity is ¼. It is not till 7 half-lives
have elapsed that the activity is 1/128
th
of
the initial activity.
So, 7 x 1622 = 11354 years

EXAMPLE 2
A Geiger counter is placed near a source of
short lifetime radioactive atoms, and the
detection count for 30-second intervals is
determined. Plot the data on a graph, and use it
to find the half-life of the isotope.
EXAMPLE 2
Interval Count
1. 12456
2. 7804
3. 5150
4. 3034
5. 2193
6. 1278
7. 730
EXAMPLE 2 SOLUTION
The data are plotted
on a graph with the
point placed at the
end of the time
interval since the
count reaches this
value after the full 30
seconds.
EXAMPLE 2 SOLUTION
A line of best fit is
drawn through the
points, and the time is
determined for a
count rate of 12 000
in 30 seconds. Then
the time is determined
for a count rate of
6000, and 3000.
EXAMPLE 2 SOLUTION
t(12 000) = 30s
t( 6000) = 72s, so
t
1/2
(1) = 42s
t( 3000) = 120s, so
t
1/2
(2) = 48s
The time difference
should have be the
half-life of the sample.
EXAMPLE 2 SOLUTION
Since we have two
values, an average
is taken.

t s
1 2
42 48
2
45
/
=
+
=
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
Besides alpha, beta and gamma radiation, there
are other types of radiation that causes
ionisation.
This includes X-rays, neutrons and protons.
Different types of radiation ionise atoms in
different ways, however, the result on living
tissue can be devastating.
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
Particles such as alpha, beta particles and
protons are all charged themselves. As they
pass through tissue, they can remove electrons
using the coulombic force.
As the energies required to remove electrons is
in the order of 10 eV and alpha particles have
energies of 10MeV, one alpha particle has the
ability to ionise many atoms.
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
It can be seen that many alpha particles are
released every second and so the likelihood of
damage is great.
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
Neutral particles such as neutrons can only
ionise atoms by direct collision with an atom. It
can collide with a nucleus and fuse with it.
This can make the nucleus unstable and then
decay into new nuclei with large amounts of
energy. They can then collide with other atoms
and ionise them.
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
This breaks bonds and produces structural
damage to the tissue.
Neutrons can also collide directly with electrons
knocking them out and ionising the atoms.
EFFECT OF IONISING RADIATION
ON LIVING MATTER
High-energy photons such as X-rays and
gamma rays can remove electrons in
photoelectric interactions.
Gamma rays can be absorbed by the nucleus
causing charged particles to be emitted with high
energies causing further ionisation.
IONISING RADIATION
DAMAGE TO LIVING MATTER
Removing electrons from atoms can…
- Cause molecules in living tissue to break
down.
- DNA can be affected, this can lead to
defective cells.
- Genetic defects.
IONISING RADIATION
DAMAGE TO NON-LIVING MATTER
Ionising radiation can affect non-living material.
Plastics and paints often fade from high energy
particles ionising the atoms within them.
Ionising radiation can be particularly devastating
to materials used in space as there is no
protection from our atmosphere.
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
What is PET?
Nuclear medical imaging technique
Produces 3D image which detects changes
within tissues or organs.
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Examines chemical activity for:
– cancers,
– heart problems
– Depression
– Alzheimer's disease
– Epilepsy
– Brain function after a stroke
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
.Why is PET special?
Unique
radiopharmaceuticals
(radioisotopes) +
Unique imaging
technique
– Equals
Unique information
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Involves a radiopharmaceutical injected into the
bloodstream
Radiopharmaceuticals become concentrated in
body tissue
Different tissues take up different
radiopharmaceuticals
– Different radiopharmaceuticals are required.

POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Radiopharmaceuticals absorbed by areas of
interest e.g. tumours
They then decay emitting a positron
Collides with electron
Annihilates producing gamma photons
Detected by sensors
Location then determined.
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Man made radioactivity
“Neutron poor” - does not happen in nature
accelerator - cyclotron
Protons
A
t
o
m
i
c

w
e
i
g
h
t

Add proton
(cyclotron)
|
+
¸
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Radiopharmaceuticals are produced by:
– Firing protons or deuterons into nucleus
Use cyclotrons
– Or other particle accelerators
Produces radioactive isotopes which decays by:
– |
+

– Positron

POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Positron antimatter
Annihilates electron

POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Annihilation must obey conservation laws
Charge
– Net charge is zero before and after collision
Linear momentum
– Must be conserved before and after collision
Energy
– Must be conserved before and after collision
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Only final system which allows these conditions is:
– 2 gamma ray photons simultaneously produced
– traveling at 180
o
to each other.
Energy of Photons?
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
E = mc
2

E = 9.10938188 x 10
-31
x (3.00 x 10
8
)
2

E = 8.198 x 10
-14
J
E = 5.124 x 10
5
eV
E = 0.5124 MeV
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
Photons from annihilation are detected, not
positrons.
180° simultaneous production advantage
– Detect 1 with standard gamma camera
– Detect both with modified gamma camera
– Detect both with dedicated PET scanner
PET CAMERAS
Full ring
multicrystal
Part-ring
multicrystal
Full-ring
NaI
Gamma Cameras
Coincidence Collimated
16cm 25cm 40cm
Speed(count rate) Resolution Contrast
Different Detectors
38cm 38cm
16cm 16cm 38cm
25cm
Single
photon
Slow
insensitive
Fast
Insensitive
Resolution
Optimal
Most
versatile
Optimised
for FDG
Detector block
Crystal
Photo-
multipliers
Detecting Gamma Photons
What do you see?
What do you see?
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
What is FDG?
Fluorodeoxyglucose
2-fluoro-2deoxy-D-glucose
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Radioactive
18
F is used so that the glucose produces
gamma rays for detection.

18
F concentrates in high glucose using cells e.g.
– Heart
– Brain
– Kidney
– Cancer cells
– Inflammatory conditions
Reflects very well the distribution of glucose uptake
Normal FDG Uptake
High:
- Brain
- Urinary tract
(bladder, kidneys)
Medium:
- Liver
- Muscle
- Bone marrow
Low/no:
- Lung
- Bone
Attenuation Corrected Scans
*Cardiac uptake varies from high-none
* Bowel activity varies from high-none
Normal FDG Uptake
Muscle
Muscle
High:
- Renal system
Medium:
- Muscles
Attenuation Corrected Scans
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Influenced by Insulin, Blood Glucose etc
Phosphorylated but not metabolised further
Therefore is trapped
110 min half life allows remote transport
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Another radioisotope which is used is:
Oxygen 15
15
O
Used to measure:
– Brain blood flow
– Blood volume
– Oxygen extraction

POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Uses
15
O labelled gaseous tracers
– CO
2
, CO, O
2

Administered by inhalation
Also used for organ blood flow
– Uses
15
O labelled water or butanol
15
O produced by particle accelerators
– Cyclotron

POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Easiest is
14
N
– Lowest energy required
Reaction?
Calculate binding energies
Type of reaction?
Energy required?
7
14
1
2
8
15
0
1
N H O n + ÷ +
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
15
O Half-life
2 minutes
– Must be created on site
To create H
2
15
O
Heat (700
o
C)
15
O with H
2
Vapour extracted into saline
Old Technique!
Lawrence invented
cyclotron in 1930!
Lawrence 1938
PET
Study 1952
Brownell & Aronow
PET at the RAH 1968
18
F bone scan
Modern PET Scanner
Modern PET Scanner
World PET Numbers (July 2000)
Cameras Per Million
Belgium 18 1.78
Germany 80 0.97
Switzerland 7 0.95
Denmark 4 0.75
Sweden 6 0.67
USA 144 0.52
Austria 4 0.52
Finland 2 0.38
Japan 37 0.29
Australia 5 0.26 (0.31)
Canada 8 0.26
Netherlands 4 0.24
UK 14 0.23
Italy 12 0.21
Spain 8 0.21
France 8 0.13
CT Acquisition
PET Emission acquisition
Combined PET-CT
Co-incident Detection
Normal Brain
Alzheimer’s
Brain Tumours
Viable tumour
Case Study 1: Lymphoma
There is a focal region of increased activity in the mid to lower left lung laterally, consistent with
intraparenchymal lung involvement at this site and there is a small region of activity at the pleural margin of the
mid to lower left lung posterolaterally.
Case Study 3: Lymphoma
Case Study 5: Head and Neck Cancer
Metastatic lymphadenopathy is seen in two mid right cervial nodes, one upper left cervical node, intensely in the
subcarinal region, right mid and infrahilar region and retrocarinal region.
POSITRON EMISSION
TOMOGRAPHY - PET
As radiopharmaceuticals have short half
lives
– Cyclotron must be located close to PET
hospitals
– Time is important, not distance.


Source of Tracer
Cyclotrons
PET scanners
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
0 1 2 3 4 5
Time (Hr)
m
C
i

r
e
m
a
i
n
i
n
g
55 Minutes between patients, 5mCi dose
1
2
3
4
5
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY - PET
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Cyclotrons and PET at the Austin
PET is a perfect example of how a cross-over
question could be structured
Besides PET
– From syllabus
POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY
- PET
Question could include:
– Production of radioisotopes
– Calculation of binding energy
– Calculation of photon energies
– Decay equations

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