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Radiation Science Laboratory

Gamma Spectroscopy

Neutron activation analysis (NAA) is a non-destructive gamma analysis method used to determine elemental concentrations in unknown samples. It is especially useful for determining amounts of heavy metals – up to parts per billion – in samples often on the milligram scale. The Center has many liquid nitrogen cooled high-purity germanium detectors that can run simultaneously for a host of NAA and gamma analysis needs.

Alpha Spectroscopy

We maintain several alpha-particle spectrometers that can be used to determine quantities of the various isotopes of uranium, plutonium, americium, and thorium in most biological materials.  Qualified staff members and researchers are available to aid in the best use of these specialized detectors.

Solid-State Structural Characterization

A Bruker Smart Apex II SCXRD system with an Apex2s CCD detector and an Oxford Cryosystems Cryostream 700 Controller is located onsite.  Single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD) uses X-ray radiation diffracting off of the electron clouds of atoms to determine the three-dimensional structure of a molecule or molecules in the solid-state.  The X-rays, diffracting according to Bragg’s Law, are measured in terms of their intensity and exact origin on a CCD camera, and then are fitted to a computer model of the atomic crystal structure. The data are compared to this model and the measured atomic structure so that bond lengths, bond angles, and atomic interactions can be modeled with great precision and accuracy.

Gamma Irradiations

Two separate gamma irradiation facilities located at the Center can be used for a wide array of research including cell, plasma, and biological material sterilization.  It has also facilitated the mutation of seeds, the examination of the radiation degradation effects of various compounds, and the performance of radiation damage studies in electronic components.