Actinides — the chemical elements with atomic numbers 89 through 103 — have a range of powerful applications, from medicine to nuclear energy. But first, scientists must purify these elements, which is a complex, multistep process that requires separating out contaminants and other elements. Now, a team of researchers, including Rebecca Abergel, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, has created a new and more efficient separation method that may accelerate the discovery of new elements, improve the reprocessing of nuclear fuels and ease the procurement of actinium-225, an isotope that has shown promise for treating cancer. The researchers demonstrated their method on actinium, plutonium and berkelium, and plan to research how this process can be used with
other medical isotopes.
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