JINR received unique isotopes

News, 09 September 2022

Unique samples of Zr-96 isotopes were delivered to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Isotope vendor is Isotope – Regional Alliance, integrator of Rosatom State Corporation. Isotope Zr-96, made at the ECP Rosatom facilities, will be used for physical research, especially for neutrino properties research.

Unique sample of enriched Zr-96 was obtained as a result of joint efforts of the Laboratory of Nuclear Problems JINR and Isotope JSC. It will enable new studies, both of the neutrino mode of double beta decay of this isotope and the search for a neutrinoless mode at new levels of sensitivity. “Spectrometric search for neutrinoless mode of double beta decay links neutrino physics with astrophysics and cosmology,” Evgeny Yakushev, Head of the DLNP Department of Nuclear Spectroscopy and Radiochemistry, said about research tasks. “Presence of such a decay mode will allow us to shed light on the fact of the Universe’s existence, which became possible due to small asymmetry between matter and antimatter. A number of theoretical models explaining this asymmetry requires a different, majoron mechanism for neutrino mass acquisition, which makes neutrinoless decay possible. This mechanism for neutrinos may be fundamentally different from all other known particles, whose mass is known to arise from interactions with the Higgs field. It’s a whole new and fascinating physics.”

“This delivery is a result of effective cooperation between Isotope JSC, ECP Rosatom, and JINR. We hope that the joint work will help us to conduct international scientific experiments on studying the physical properties of the Universe and lead to new important discoveries,” Maxim Kushnarev, Director General of Isotope JSC, noted.

“JINR has a lasting history of creating and conducting double beta decay experiments. The study requires not only enriched isotopes, which is what Isotope JSC helps us with, but also its unique purity in terms of all kinds of contaminants. Methods of determining such contaminants, a thorough study of the properties of the resulting enriched material, and the necessary additional purification will be the subject of research at the Laboratory of Nuclear Problems,” added Dmitry Filosofov, Head of the Radiochemistry Sector DLNP JINR.

JINR plans to carry out the study on the purity of delivered isotope samples in the near future followed by the publication of results. If the quality of Zr-96 is confirmed to be high, it could be in demand by various international scientific projects, with possible total sales amounting to tens of kilograms per year.