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Path: Home>Applications>Geosciences>Nuclear Particle Analysis
Environmental studies

Nuclear particle analysis

In the past decades, the analysis of small particles has been largely applied to dust samples from nuclear handling facilities in the search of non-declared nuclear activities.  Although several analytical techniques have been used, only SIMS can presently perform in situ sensitive elemental and isotopic analysis with sub-µm spatial resolution. Results can be obtained from a specimen as small as a few picograms (1E-12 grams). 

The IMS 1280-HR features numerous instrumental advantages that make it the best choice for small particle analysis, among which... 

  • High transmission at high Mass Resolving Power (MRP): removal of background interference,
  • Improved measurement precision for minor isotopes (234U, 236U)
  • Multicollector system for optimized precision and greatly improved throughput
  • Automatic Particle Measurement software for fast screening of large numbers (millions) of particles deposed over the sample

Uranium isotope mass spectrum in multicollection mode

Uranium isotope mass spectrum in multicollection mode

Uraninite sample,
O2+ 7keV
lp~10nA
Positive sec. ions<

MRP = 2500
All U isotopes as well as 238U hybride can be recorded simultaneously using the multicollector system: analysis time is considerably shortened and precision improved.

236U / 238U isotope ratio on 10 different particles

236U-238U isotope ratio on 10 different particles


U500 Uranium
µm-size standard particles
U isotopes on 5 multicollection EMs
O2+ 7keV
lp~2.5nA
Positive sec. ions,
MRP = 2500

Excellent precision obtained for the minor isotope 236U in multicollection mode. Minor isotopes provide essential information about enrichment facilities, origin and type of feed materials.

For further details, you may also request the publication: Improved particle location and isotopic screening measurements of sub-micron sized particles by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry. P. M. L. Hedberg, P. Peres, J. B. Cliff, F. Rabemananjara, S. Littmann, H. Thiele, C. Vincent and N. Albert. (2011) J. Anal. At. Spectrom., DOI: 10.1039/C0JA00181C.


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