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Title: Alpha Coincidence Detection for the Assay of Actinides

Abstract – Interferences in both decay counting and mass counting techniques limit their application for some environmental monitoring applications. For example, 238U interferes with 238Pu in mass spectrometry measurements, while in conventional alpha spectroscopy measurements it is nearly impossible to separate 238Pu from 241Am and 239Pu from 240Pu. These interferences are typically resolved by using chemical separation and/or different measurement techniques for different isotopes. We are investigating radiation detector concepts to simultaneously assay these four isotopes with minimal sample preparation by exploiting radiation signatures measured in coincidence with the typical alpha decays of these isotopes. Particles in coincidence with the alpha decay include conversion electrons, gamma rays, x-rays, and Auger electrons. Each decay has a unique energy distribution enabling the separation of the isotopes. We are exploring two basic detector concepts to achieve these goals: a silicon-based design and a gas-detector design. The silicon system provides the potential for higher energy resolution at the cost of lower efficiency compared to a gas detector. In this paper, we will describe our evaluation of the different detector concepts, which will include detection efficiency, ability to resolve the isotopes, sample preparation and equipment requirements.
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Conference: IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference (NSS/MIC 2013), October 27-November 2, 2013, Seoul, South Korea
IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, United States(US).
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States