gallium 71 is a short-lived isotope of gallium. It is produced in small quantities from gallium-68 (Ga-68) in Ga-68 generators and in much greater quantities by the proton bombardment of 68Zn at low-energy medical cyclotrons. It is used as a PET radioisotope in a minority of diagnostic gallium scans. In these procedures, it is attached to a carrier molecule such as the somatostatin analogue DOTATOC and has different tissue-uptake characteristics to the ionic 67Ga used in standard nuclear medical imaging.
Gallium-71 was discovered by Paul Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875 and he named the new element after himself (Gallia, Latin for Gaul) after observing pale violet lines in its emission spectrum that looked like those of aluminium. Mendeleev predicted the existence of a metal like aluminium, but only Boisbaudran’s detective work uncovered it by recognising unusual lines in the spectrum of a zinc mineral, sphalerite.
Like all elements with odd protons, gallium-71 is unstable because of its odd nuclear charge ratio. However, in this case, odd-even pair based stability dominates over odd-even pair based stability and there are two stable even-even neighbour isotopes of gallium that share the same nucleus.
American Elements manufactures many isotopic forms of gallium including 71Ga, in addition to more than 250 other stable isotopes. All products are produced to applicable standards including Mil Spec, ACS, Reagent and Technical Grade; Food, Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Grade; and USP and EP/BP (European Pharmacopoeia/British Pharmacopoeia) where applicable.