Science Seminar Series

Home Brew-Technetium-99m: Bringing together physics, chemistry, medicine and radiation biology

Date: Tue 29th Oct 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm

Location: McClymont Lecture Theatre 1
Contact: Richard Charlesworth  rcharle3@une.edu.au 67731512

In this seminar, we will hear from Dr Stephen Bosi. Dr Bosi has been an academic at UNE since 2012. He has also lectured in physics at the University of Sydney, UTS, WSU and the University of Wollongong. His scientific career began at the University of NSW where he completed a BSc with a double major in physics and chemistry (Honours in chemistry) and a PhD in condensed matter physics studying the superconducting ceramic yttrium barium cuprate. He spent roughly a decade conducting research in optical, bio-optical and electronic phenomena, including solar energy & sustainable technology at UTS, ANSTO and USyd. He then evolved into a research medical physicist at the Radiation Oncology Dept, Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, where he conducted four years of medical physics research in 3 dimensional radiation dosimetry and medical imaging, work that he is continuing at UNE. Tc-99m (a decay product of Mo-99) accounts for ~90% of the world's production of radiopharmaceuticals. Short half-life means that supply is critically dependent on a small number of nuclear fission reactors around the world, close to where it's needed.

Over the last decade, unexpected and scheduled shutdowns of two fission reactors in Canada and technical problems at the Lucas Heights facility in Sydney have created serious global and local shortages of Tc-99m, hence a large global effort to find alternative sources.

This seminar will discuss the design of a novel prototype Mo-99/Tc-99m source which does NOT require the use of nuclear fission reactors, but is based on a desktop-sized, plasma-based neutron source. This is being designed for local use, perhaps on the scale of one or a few hospitals, so the yield would not need to be industrial scale as with fission reactor sources. This device is low cost (estimated <$300K) compared with cyclotrons and fission reactors. I hope that you can come along, support Dr Bosi and hear about this interesting research.