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Research Applications

Our stable isotopes are used for several research applications, including food absorption studies, material research and nuclear physics.

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Food absorption studies

A significant amount of research is invested into the diet of children living in poor and underdeveloped communities. The diet of these children often does not contain the right amounts of essential elements such as zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium. Studies are performed to verify if and how these essential elements are absorbed by the body and where those go, once inside the body. Our zinc isotopes are regularly used in these food absorption studies.

Material research

Materials used in nuclear environments are subjected to harsh conditions with intense neutron fluxes, for example in nuclear power reactors. The materials are often activated by these neutron fluxes leading to a decrease in lifetime. By changing the isotopic composition of the materials, the cross section for neutron capture can be reduced significantly. This leads to lower activation, reduction in radioactive waste and increased lifetime of the materials. Urenco Stable Isotopes produces low activating tungsten, ideally suited for use in environments with high neutron fluxes such as fission and fusion reactors. We have also developed low activating titanium, depleted in titanium46 which strongly reduces the formation of radioactive scandium46.

Nuclear physics

Stable isotopes are used extensively in nuclear physics research. One example is the use of stable isotopes for the creation of super heavy elements. Our enriched zinc70 and titanium50 have been, and still are, extensively used for this research.

Another example is the use of enriched stable isotopes for neutrino research. Enriched isotopes such as selenium82, germanium76, tellurium130 and xenon136 are often incorporated in detectors, which are used for investigating the characteristics of neutrinos. These enriched isotopes produced by us have been successfully used in the field of neutrino research.

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