Reviews of topical problems

New approaches to molecular laser separation of uranium isotopes

Institute of Spectroscopy, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Fizicheskaya 5, Troitsk, Moscow, 108840, Russian Federation

Significant interest in the laser separation of uranium isotopes at the turn of the century stimulated the search for and development of a number of methods and approaches that use both atomic and molecular mechanisms of isotope separation. Effective laser methods for the separation of uranium isotopes are currently under active development in many countries. New approaches to the molecular laser isotope separation (MLIS) of uranium are reviewed. They are based on resonant isotope-selective multiphoton excitation of high vibrational states (2ν3 and 3ν3) of 235UF6 and 238UF6 molecules in gas-dynamically cooled molecular flows by bichromatic IR laser radiation and the subsequent dissociation of the excited molecules by the same laser pulses. The foundations of these approaches are analyzed. The results of experiments on two- and three-photon excitation of SF6 molecules, whose spectroscopic properties are similar to those of UF6 molecules, into the 2ν3 and 3ν3 vibrational states by, respectively, two- and three-frequency radiation of pulsed CO2 lasers are presented and discussed. Specific setups and parameters of resonant two- and three-photon isotope-selective excitation of 235UF6 and 238UF6 molecules into the 2ν3 and 3ν3 vibrational states by bichromatic IR radiation from two pulsed CF4 lasers and two para-H2 lasers with emissions in the 16-μm region are proposed and analyzed. A method is considered for the isotope-selective excitation and dissociation of UF6 molecules in a mixture with a sensitizer (SF6 molecules) under nonequilibrium thermodynamic conditions of a shock wave. Low-energy MLIS methods for uranium based on the proposed approaches are shown to be feasible.

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Fulltext is also available at DOI: 10.3367/UFNe.2023.02.039325
Keywords: atoms, molecules, clusters, uranium, molecular and cluster beams, laser spectroscopy, laser-induced selective processes in molecules and clusters, laser separation of uranium isotopes, laser physics
PACS: 07.77.Gx, 28.60.+s, 33.80-b, 36.40.−c, 42.62.−b, 42.62.Fi, 82.50.Bc (all)
DOI: 10.3367/UFNe.2023.02.039325
Citation: Makarov G N "New approaches to molecular laser separation of uranium isotopes" Phys. Usp. 67 44–54 (2024)
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Received: 19th, January 2023, revised: 17th, February 2023, 20th, February 2023

Оригинал: Макаров Г Н «Новые подходы к молекулярному лазерному разделению изотопов урана» УФН 194 48–59 (2024); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.2023.02.039325

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