Radioassays and experimental evaluation of dose calibrator settings for 18F

Appl Radiat Isot. 2001 Jan;54(1):113-22. doi: 10.1016/s0969-8043(99)00260-2.


The positron emitter 18F continues to be one of the most important imaging radionuclides in diagnostic nuclear medicine. Assays of radiopharmaceuticals containing this nuclide are often performed in the clinic using commercial reentrant ionization chambers, or "dose calibrators". Meaningful quantitative clinical studies require accurate knowledge of the injected activity which requires proper calibration of these instruments. Radioassays were performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on a solution of 18F produced at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) using 4pibeta liquid scintillation (fS) counting with 3H-standard efficiency tracing. Cocktails containing water fractions of approximately 0.9 and 9% (both as saline) were used. The massic activity values were measured to be 2.52+/-0.06 and 2.50+/-0.03 MBq g(-1), respectively, for the 0.9 and 9% water cocktails as of the reference time. The uncertainties on the activity measurements are expanded (k = 2) uncertainties. The largest uncertainty component was found to be the repeatability on a single LS source, with the cocktails containing 0.9% water fraction exhibiting a larger variability by nearly a factor of two. Reproducibility between LS cocktails with the same water fraction was also found to be a large uncertainty component, but with a value less than half that due to measurement repeatability. Radionuclidic impurities consisted of 48V and 46Sc, at levels of 0.11+/-0.08% (expanded uncertainties) and approximately 2 x 10(-3)% (upper limit) relative to the activity of the 18F, as of the reference time. Dose calibrator dial settings for measuring solutions of 18F were experimentally determined for Capintec CRC-12 and CRC-35R dose calibrators in three measurement geometries: a 5-ml standard NIST ampoule (two ampoules measured), a 12-ml plastic syringe containing 9 ml of solution and a 10-ml Mallinckrodt molded dose vial filled with 5 ml of solution. The experimental dial settings (and the corresponding expanded uncertainties) for these geometries were found to be 477+/-7, 474+/-6, 482+/-6 and 463+/-7 for the two ampoules, the syringe and the dose vial, respectively, in the CRC-12. The dial settings determined for the CRC-35R were 472+/-7, 470+/-7, 464+/-6 and 456+/-6 for the two ampoules, the syringe, and the dose vial, respectively. The uncertainties in the dial settings are expanded uncertainties. Comparisons between the empirically determined dial settings and the manufacturer's recommended setting of "439" indicate that use of the manufacturer's setting overestimates the activity by between 3 and 6%, depending upon the geometry used.

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Fluorine Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Gamma Rays
  • Iron Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Radiometry / instrumentation*
  • Radiometry / methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / analysis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / chemistry*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • United States


  • Fluorine Radioisotopes
  • Iron Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals