President of the CAS opened the new NPI radiochemical laboratories

14. 08. 2018

A visit of the CAS president Eva Zažímalová at NPI took place at the sunny spring mood. Accompanied by Jan Řídký, vicepresident of the CAS, and other members of the Academic Council, the president has been acquainted with the development and successes of our institute in recent years.

Capable scientists are a ground of a well-functioning scientific institution. The management of the NPI significantly improve the age structure and strengthen the prospective scientific teams. Our postdoctoral support program is very successful. In the selection process, high-quality young people were found to be in key constituent groups. Two-thirds of them are from abroad, especially from Italy and Slovakia. Their stays are planned for two years with the option of extending for another year. However, several of them, after graduating the post-doctoral studies, have become senior scientists in our teams. For example, they reinforced team of prospective materials on our linear accelerator Tandetron.
The second area in which significant progress has been made is the modernization of the insti-tute's experimental infrastructure. Old Van de Graaff's accelerator, who finished at the National Technical Museum, was replaced by the (already mentioned) Tandetron. Two years ago, the new TR-24 Cyclotron was added to an older U-120M Cyclotron. The final step to modernizing our equipment will be the RAMSES (OP RDE) project, which will enrich the portfolio of our experimental methods by accelerator mass spectrometry. This device, after its completion in 2020, will extend our radiocarbon dating capabilities to a much farther past, but will also allow a number of other nuclear analytical studies.
We have also been able to modernize other institutional equipment that we have focused on the CANAM research infrastructure (Center of Accelerators and Nuclear Analytical Methods). This infrastructure provides open access to our facilities for a wide Czech and foreign scientific community. At the same time, this home base creates a good position for our participation in major international projects, whether the ALICE project at CERN, STAR in BNL, HADES and FAIR at GSI Darmstadt, ESS in Lund or KATRIN in Karlsruhe.

Opening new laboratories

New radiochemical laboratories built upstairs over the TR-24 Cyclotron are among the facilities that have just been completed. There was relocated a visit from the CAS after a meeting with the NPI's management. There were waiting for its a number of our other guests - workers who participated in the building of the laboratories, representatives of supply companies, as well as colleagues from other institutions in the research area in Řež. After a brief introduction of P. Lukáš, the director of the NPI, the president symbolically opened our new laboratories. Guide to the laboratories was Ondřej Lebeda, the head of the Department of radiopharmaceuticals, who presented to the visitors various devices and special solutions, designed by our staff. Our guests also looked at the TR-24 accelerator that will radiate radionuclide targets for laborato-ries.

A shift in research into new radiopharmaceuticals

The new radiopharmaceutical research and development laboratories will use the new TR-24 Cyclotron, which provides a very intense beams of protons with different energies up to 24 MeV. It can be used to prepare a very wide range of radionuclides. One of the research objectives is to prepare and study suitable radionuclides for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in medicine. These radionuclides must, however, be bound to suitable chemical compounds that bring them to the right place in the body. This is made in radiochemical laboratories and related analytical laboratories. The concepts of our new laboratories are very innovative - they communicate with the cyclotron by tube mail, which transports irradiated targets with prepared radionuclides without human intervention automatically into half-chambers. There is processing of targets and treatment of radionuclides and compounds containing them. These unique technologies were acquired with a cost of 33 million CZK, provided in the form of a grant from the CAS.

NPI has many years of experience in this field - it was one of the pioneers who used the radionuclides in medical diagnostics in the former Czechoslovakia. Radionuclides nn the U-120M cyclotron were prepared for radiopharmaceuticals from the eighties of the last century, the research of radiopharmaceuticals in NPI then received another impulse in the second half of the 1990s, when a separate Department of radiopharmaceuticals was established. However, the newly acquired laboratories represent another major advance in this area, bringing in particular new possibilities of own research and national and international cooperation.