, Volume 215, Issue 1, pp 63-68

Cold neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis at NIST — Recent developments

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Abstract

The cold neutron capture prompt γ-ray activation analysis (CNPGAA) spectrometer located in the Cold Neutron Research Facility (CNRF) at NIST has proven useful for the analysis of hydrogen and other elements in a wide variety of materials. Modifications of the instrument and the CNRF have resulted in improved measurement capabilities for PGAA. The addition of an atmosphere-controlled sample chamber and Compton suppression have reduced γ-ray background and increased signal-to-noise ratio. More recent revisions are expected to yield still further improvement in analytical capabilities. Replacement of the D2O ice cold source with a liquid H2 moderator is expected to yield a 5–10 fold increase in neutron capture rate, and improved neutron and γ-ray shielding will result in further reduction of the background. Other modifications to the instrument allow easier sample mounting and more precise positioning of samples in the neutron beam. Significant improvements in detection limits and analytical accuracy are expected.