Radioactivity measurements for diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine in the United States are based on measurements at NIST. Activity measurements for the gamma-ray-emitting radionuclides are made using 4πβ liquid scintillation spectrometry and 4πγ ionization chamber. The calibration process also includes identification of radionuclidic impurities by germanium spectrometry. Recent development work has focused on therapeutic nuclides for nuclear medicine, radioimmunotherapy, and bone palliation. Future work will focus on intravascular brachytherapy and diagnostic imaging.
The radiopharmaceutical standardization laboratory provides calibration services for radionuclides and is available for technical users who must make measurements consistent with national standards or who require higher accuracy calibrations than are available with commercial standards. NIST also undertakes basic research to develop new methods of standardizing radionuclides for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. These studies include measurements of decay-scheme parameters, such as half lives and gamma-ray emission probabilities, and identification of radionuclidic impurities.
The customer has no direct use of the facility. NIST staff can provide calibration services for any previously standardized radionuclide. As part of the same program, research associates of the Nuclear Energy Institute produce standards that are certified by NIST as Standard Reference Materials for distribution to the radiopharmaceutical user communities.