Positron Emission Tomography Centre



The chemistry needed to make radioactive tracers for PET imaging has some different features from conventional chemical synthesis methods.

These differences are because of the relatively large amounts of radioactivity, small amounts of material and, especially, the very short half-lives of the most commonly used isotopes.

In the case of the positron-emitting isotope of fluorine (18F), the half-life is less than two hours, so the chemical synthesis, purification and quality control need to be done very quickly. The time pressure for other isotopes is even worse, eg 11C has a half-life of only 20 minutes.

Find out more about radiochemistry tracers and our radiochemistry facilities.