Cadmium is a shiny metal with many applications, from nickel-cadmium batteries to the manufacturing of bearings. Despite its numerous uses, it is still considered a rare and exotic element.
112cd is one of the few stable cadmium isotopes and is used to improve the power output and coherence length of HeCd lasers.
Interestingly enough, 112cd was also the first cadmium isotope to be synthesised using a laser beam.
This is an old school process that dates back to the 1920s and was developed by the US Army Research Lab.
The process involves vaporizing Cd in the presence of a gamma ray from a beam of laser light, and then bombarding the resulting crystals with xed electrons to form a pristine HeCd.
This particular experiment is still ongoing but the results are promising. The most notable finding is that this method can be repeated with higher energy laser beams and the resulting HeCd crystals should be as good if not better than the original.