A method for removing surface contamination on ultra-pure copper spectrometer components
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Spectrometers for the lowest-level radiometric measurements require materials of extreme radiopurity. Measurements of rare nuclear decays, e.g., neutrinoless double-beta decay, can require construction and shielding materials with bulk radiopurity reaching one micro-Becquerel per kilogram or less. When such extreme material purity is achieved, surface contamination, particularly solid daughters in the natural radon decay chains, can become the limiting background. High-purity copper is an important material for ultra-low-background spectrometers and thus is the focus of this work. A method for removing surface contamination at very low levels without attacking the bulk material is described. An assay method using a low-background proportional counter made of the material under examination is employed, and the preliminary result of achievable surface contamination levels is presented.
KeywordsSurface Contamination Surface Cleaning Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Detector Part Remove Surface Contamination
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