Chromium is a chemical element that is part of Group 6 (VIb) of the periodic table. It has an atomic number of 52 and protons and electrons. Although it is a relatively abundant element in the Earth’s crust, it is usually produced in alloys with iron and manganese. The most common source of chromium is iron chromite ore. Other common sources include nickel, ferrochromium, and lithium.
Natural deposits of chromium are usually contaminated with magnesium and aluminum. This is not conducive to producing an enriched 52Cr target. Instead, a suitable target can be derived from enriched metal powders.
Enriched metal powders were obtained from Isoflex in Ashland, OR. A scanning electron microscope was used to investigate the chemistry of these targets. The results showed that the material did not dissolve in hydrofluoric acid.
Cr(III) targets were electroplated. They were then analyzed by ICP-MS. Data showed that they contained 94.5 +- 2.2% 52Mn. These targets can be recycled and would increase the yield of 52Mn production.
An improved purification process was then performed to increase the yield of 52Mn. DOTA was used as a macrocyclic chelator to label the 52Mn. Mn from the target was separated by a series of one-ml SPE tubes. Results were expressed as average +- SD.
In the end, the 52Mn yield increased from 7.2 +- 1.3 ug to 94.5 +- 2.2%. With further research, further improvement could be made. Moreover, the feasibility of recycling natural Cr metal powder targets was investigated.