Nuclear Science


Isotope Research Materials Laboratory

The Isotope Research Materials Laboratory (IRML) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory manages and distributes the entire DOE stable isotope inventory which has a list price of $360M.  It consists of over 2,000 batches of 225 stable isotopes of approximately 50 multi-isotopic elements.  Most isotopes were enriched using electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS)technology.  These isotopes range in price from $0.90/mg to $19,279/mg.  They are stored in their most stable forms as metals, oxides, and/or carbonates.  Non-EM isotopes are also available.  These include Ar, 3He, Kr, Ne, O2 and Xe gases.

The IRML provides custom stable isotope services to chemically convert or physically prepare stable isotopes to customer specifications.  These services include:

  • Inorganic chemical conversions
  • Arc melting and alloying
  • Arc melting and drop casting
  • Thin film evaporations
  • Wire swaging and drawing
  • Hot and cold rolling metal foils
  • Melting and ceramic powder
  • consolidation
  • Scanning electron microscopy/Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
  • Pyrochemical conversions
  • Wire rolling
  • Crucible melting and casting
  • Vacuum hot pressing
  • Ion beam sputtering
  • Plasma sputtering


  • Ca, Fe, Cr, Mg, Se, Zn isotopes - non-rad biological and metabolic tracers
  • Rb-87 (naturally occurring radioisotope) - timing standard or atomic clock in geopositioning systems, cellular telephone applications, etc.
  • Ni-62 for production of Ni-63 - explosives detection, power sources
  • Tl-203 for production of Tl-201 - cardiac imaging
  • Many medical radioisotopes start from a stable isotope precursor


Chemistry Four Labs
Materials Seven Labs
Equipment High temperature furnaces
Vacuum furnace
Inert glove boxes
Rolling mills
Reduction/distillation systems
Evaporation systems
 -  resistance
 -  e-beam
 -  induction
Sputtering systems
Vacuum hot press
For more Information

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