PhD topic (SCK-CEN): Separation and purification of medical radioisotopes by solvent extraction in milliflow reactors, promotors prof. Koen Binnemans and Prof. Tom Van Gerven

This project aims to develop innovative processes for extraction of medical radioisotopes from irradiated target materials by solvent extraction in milliflow reactors. Milliflow reactors offer the advantage of more efficient separations, fast processing times, low liquid hold-up volumes and thus lower waste volumes compared to conventional solvent extraction equipment such as mixer-settlers. The separation of scandium-47 from calcium-46 and the separation of actinium-225 from radium-226 are selected as model processes. Both scandium-47 and actinium-225 being high potential medical radioisotopes of the new generation for application in targeted radionuclide therapy. An integrated milliflow setup with in-line separators will be built to demonstrate the three different unit operations of extraction, scrubbing (removal of coextracted impurities) and stripping (back extraction) to demonstrate the full separation process. A comparison with other separation methods such as extraction chromatography or ion-exchange chromatography will be made. The student will learn how to safely work with radioactive materials in the context of production of medical radioisotopes and how to apply radiochemical and radioanalytical methods required for this research project.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

  • Master of sciences
  • Master of sciences in engineering

The candidate needs to have a background in

  • Chemistry

Estimated duration

4 years

Expert group


SCK CEN Mentor

Van Hecke Karen
+32 (0)14 33 32 75 Send Text

SCK CEN Co-mentor

Maertens Dominic
+32 (0)14 33 32 69 Send Text


Prof. Binnemans Koen


Prof. ir. Van Gerven Tom

More details and application link can be found here.
Before applying, please consult the guidelines for application for PhD