Advertisement

Improving accuracy, precision, detection limits, and sample throughput in prompt gamma-ray activation analysis using cold and thermal neutrons and element ratios

  • Rick L. Paul
Article
  • 9 Downloads

Abstract

A combination of thermal neutron (TN) and cold neutron (CN) prompt gamma-ray activation analysis (PGAA) has been used to lower analytical bias, to improve precision and detection limits, and to reduce sample throughput time. CNPGAA was used to measure element ratios relative to a comparator element, while TNPGAA was used to measure the comparator element. Low-Z elements with normally poor sensitivity (C, N, and S) were measured with expanded uncertainties of < 2% in coal and fuel oil using H as comparator element. Using the combined method, measurements can be made with good counting statistics in a fraction of the time needed for TNPGAA alone, with a 20–30-fold improvement in detection limits.

Keywords

Prompt gamma-ray activation analysis Low-Z elements Elemental analysis Cold neutrons 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank the operators and staff of the NCNR for their assistance with setting up and helping to maintain the PGAA instruments, and Thomas Vetter, John Molloy, and Robert Vocke for providing samples for analysis. The identification of certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. These identifications are made only in order to specify the experimental procedures in adequate detail.

References

  1. 1.
    Mackey EA, Anderson DL, Liposky PJ, Lindstrom RM, Chen-Mayer H, Lamaze GP (2004) New thermal neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis instrument at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research. Nucl Instrum Methods B 226(3):426–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Paul RL, Sahin D, Cook JC, Brocker C, Lindstrom RM, O’Kelly DJ (2015) NGD cold-neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis spectrometer at NIST. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 304(1):189–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mackey EA, Gordon GE, Lindstrom RM (1992) Use of spherical targets to minimize effects of neutron scattering by hydrogen in neutron-capture prompt gamma-ray activation analysis. Anal Chem 64(20):2366–2371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Paul RL, Mackey EA (1994) Neutron scattering by hydrogen in cold neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 181(2):321–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Paul RL (1995) The use of element ratios to eliminate analytical bias in cold neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 191(2):245–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paul RL (2017) Prompt gamma-ray activation analysis for certification of sulfur in fuel oil SRMs. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 311(2):1149–1154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Taylor BN, Kuyatt CE (1994) NIST Technical Note 1297: guidelines for evaluating and expressing the uncertainty of NIST measurement results. U. S Department of Commerce, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Paul RL (2001) Development of a procedure for measuring nitrogen by cold neutron prompt gamma-ray activation analysis. Analyst 126:217–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Currie LA (1977) In: Dzubay TG (ed) X-ray fluorescence analysis of environmental samples, chap. 252. Ann Arbor Science, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jaklevic JM, Walter RL (1977) In: Dzubay TG (ed) X-ray fluorescence analysis of environmental samples, chap. 5. Ann Arbor Science, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Materials Measurement LaboratoryNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

Personalised recommendations