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Purification and activity standardisation of a (166m)Ho solution.
Applied Radiation and Isotopes
As part of a project to use the long-lived (T(1/2)=1200a) (166m)Ho as reference source in its reference ionisation chamber, IRA standardised a commercially acquired solution of this nuclide using the 4pibeta-gamma coincidence and 4pigamma (NaI) methods. The (166m)Ho solution supplied by Isotope Product Laboratories was measured to have about 5% Europium impurities (3% (154)Eu, 0.94% (152)Eu and 0.9% (155)Eu). Holmium had therefore to be separated from europium, and this was carried out by means of ion-exchange chromatography. The holmium fractions were collected without europium contamination: 162h long HPGe gamma measurements indicated no europium impurity (detection limits of 0.01% for (152)Eu and (154)Eu, and 0.03% for (155)Eu). The primary measurement of the purified (166m)Ho solution with the 4pi (PC) beta-gamma coincidence technique was carried out at three gamma energy settings: a window around the 184.4keV peak and gamma thresholds at 121.8 and 637.3keV. The results show very good self-consistency, and the activity concentration of the solution was evaluated to be 45.640+/-0.098kBq/g (0.21% with k=1). The activity concentration of this solution was also measured by integral counting with a well-type 5''x5'' NaI(Tl) detector and efficiencies computed by Monte Carlo simulations using the GEANT code. These measurements were mutually consistent, while the resulting weighted average of the 4pi NaI(Tl) method was found to agree within 0.15% with the result of the 4pibeta-gamma coincidence technique. An ampoule of this solution and the measured value of the concentration were submitted to the BIPM as a contribution to the Système International de Référence.
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