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Title: LA-ICP/MS Analysis of Plastics as a Method to Support Polymer Assay in the Assessment of Materials for Low Background Detectors

Ultra low-background radiation measurements are essential to several large-scale physics investigations, such as those involving neutrinoless double-beta decay, dark matter detection (such as SuperCDMS), and solar neutrino detection. There is a need for electrically and thermally insulating dielectric materials with extremely low-background radioactivity for detector construction. This need is best met with plastics. Most currently available structural plastics have milliBecquerel-per-kilogram total intrinsic radioactivity. Modern low-level detection systems require a large variety of plastics with low microBecquerel-per-kilogram levels. However, the assay of polymer materials for extremely low levels of radioactive elements, uranium and thorium in particular, presents new challenges. It is only recently that any certified reference materials (CRMs) for toxic metals such as lead or cadmium in plastics have become available. However, there are no CRMs for uranium or thorium in thermoplastics. This paper discusses our assessment of the use of laser ablation (LA) for sampling and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for analysis of polyethylene (PE) samples, with an emphasis on uranium determination. Using a CRM for lead in PE, we examine LA and ICP-MS parameters that determine whether the total atom efficiencies for uranium and lead are similar, and explore methods to use the lead content inmore » a plastic as part of the process of estimating or determining the uranium content by LA-ICP-MS.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0236-5731
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry; Journal Volume: 307; Journal Issue: 3
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
laser ablation