Production of Radionuclides

  • Gopal B. Saha


In 1896 Becquerel discovered the natural radioactivity in potassium uranyl sulfate. Since then, Pierre and Marie Curie, E. Rutherford, and F. Soddy have all made tremendous progress in the discovery of many other radioactive elements. The work of all these scientists has shown that all elements found in nature with an atomic number greater than 83 (bismuth) are radioactive. Artificial radioactivity was first reported by I. Curie and F. Joliot in 1934. These scientists irradiated boron and aluminum targets with α particles from polonium and observed positrons emitted from the target even after the removal of the α-particle source. This discovery of induced or artificial radioactivity opened up a brand new field of tremendous importance. Around the same time, the discovery of the cyclotron, neutron, and deuteron by various scientists added to the production of many more artificial radioactivities. At present, more than 1500 radionuclides have been produced artificially in the cyclotron, the reactor, the neutron generator, or the linear accelerator.


Nuclear Reaction Thermal Neutron Target Nucleus Formation Cross Section Lithium Nitrate 
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Suggested Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gopal B. Saha
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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