Use of Radio-Isotopes
Radioisotopes are used in two major ways in Medicine
- Diagnosis: This is when a radioisotope is used to examine the condition of one's health.
- An example would be Technetium-99m, that is inserted into the body via intravenous injection
- It is used to check bone and lungs
- When inside the body, it undergoes gamma decay, and the result can be picked up using a Geiger or Scintillation counter.
- It can then be compared with a healthy body's to check for any abnormalities
- These radioisotopes should have short half-lives to minimise their patients exposure to radiation.
- Technetium-99m has a half life of around 6 hours.
- Radiotherapy: This is when high powered radiation is used to kill off unwanted cells and tumours.
- An example would be Cobalt-60, which is used to destroy malignant tumours
- These radioisotopes should have a long half-life to make it more economically feasible.
- Cobalt-60 has a half life of about 6 years.
- Radiography Similar to diagnosis, it is often used to examine structural defects
- An example of one used is Iridium-192 to emit the gamma radiation needed for radiography.
- Common use is to have a photosensitive sheet around the inspected part, then place the Iridium pellets near the part.
- It produces an image, and any significant weaknesses turn up as a blackened part on the photo.
- Iridium-192 has a half life of about 75 days.
- Another application would be in a Thickness Gauge
- This is when a processed material has radiation passed through it to a detector, and the amount detected determines whether the material is of the right thickness or not.
- This can then automate a signal to change the processing device to fix any abnormalities.
- Radioisotopes are used in the Irradiation of food
- This is when a radioisotope's radiation supposedly is used to sterilise food and prevent disease.
- There is not much basis for this, however.
- Cobalt-60 would be a good candidate for this.
page revision: 0, last edited: 03 Nov 2011 10:48