Target manufacturing


How Nuclear Physics helps Astrophysics

Nuclear physics studies the structure of nuclei, their formation, stability, and decay to answer fundamental questions such as:
  • how the universe evolved just after the Big Bang from a super-hot plasma of quarks and gluons
  • how the different elements of the universe were formed.

How to do a nuclear physics experiment

A beam of particles (e.g. protons, antiprotons,…) or ions is accelerated and directed either against another accelerated beam or against a “fixed” target. The resulting events are then observed, recorded, analysed and interpreted.
What is needed:
  •particle or ion source
  •suitable target

How Chemistry helps Nuclear Physics

For instance, with target manufacturing.
Our laboratories are mainly dedicated to the manufacturing of radioactive targets.

Different aspects related to the experimental requirements must be considered when choosing the method for the target preparation, such as:
  • Physical state of the target: solid, liquid, gaseous.
A solid target can be self-supporting or on a backing. In this case other parameters such as uniformity, homogeneity and thickness of the target must be considered.
  • Chemical characteristics: such as purity, elemental and isotopic composition, chemical stability.
  • Radioactive characteristics: activity and dose rate must be considered especially from radioprotection point of view.

Different techniques for the target manufacture are available in our laboratories:
  • Mechanically: tablet pressing
  • Chemically: electrodeposition from aqueous media and molecular plating from organic solvent.
  • Physically: vacuum vapour deposition and droplets deposition

We characterize the produced targets activity, uniformity, homogeneity, thickness and purity using the following techniques:
  • α-spectrometry
  • γ-spectrometry
  • radiographic imaging