Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Nuclear Engineering

Major Professor

Lawrence H. Heilbronn

Committee Members

Howard L. Hall, Jason P. Hayward, Robert M. Counce


225Ac [Actinium-225] is a promising radionuclide for targeted alpha therapy of cancer. 229Pa can lead to the production of 229Th [Thorium-229] and 225Ac [Actinium-225]. Deuteron bombardment on natural thorium targets has been investigated to measure cross sections of protactinium isotopes. In this work, 229Pa [Protactinium-229] excitation function was measured via deuteron energies up to 50 MeV [Mega electron volt] of thin thorium foils. The irradiation took place at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL) 88-Inch Cyclotron. The target processing and analysis were performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The target consisted of 4 thin foils (~17 mg/cm2 [milligrams per square centimeter]) in a stacked-target configuration, and were irradiated with 1 μA [microampere] for approximately 11 continuous hours. Column chromatography techniques had been implemented to observe 229Pa due to its weak γ-rays [gamma-rays]. The primary motivation of this work is to quantify the production routes of 229Th. 232Th(d,5n)229Pa reaction cross sections are reported for the first time. The peak of the excitation function of 232Th(d,5n)229Pa at 121.9 ± 12.7 mb [millibarns] occurs at Ed = 35.2 MeV. The production cross sections of 232Th(d,xn)228,230,232,233Pa reactions, where x = 1,2,4, and 6, are also reported. Other measured cross sections are in excellent agreement with published data in the literature. The experimental cross sections were compared with transport code using Particle and Heavy Ion Transport code System (PHITS) and exhibited good agreement.

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