Nuclear safeguards: U isotope analysis (LG-SIMS)

Uranium isotope analysis on nuclear particles with LG SIMS
In the past decades, the analysis of small particles has been largely applied to dust samples from nuclear handling facilities in the search of non-declared nuclear activities. Although several analytical techniques have been used, only SIMS can presently perform in situ elemental and isotopic analysis with sub-µm spatial resolution and high sensitivity. Results can be obtained from a specimen as small as a few picograms (1E-12 grams).

The CAMECA LG-SIMS features numerous instrumental advantages that make it the best choice for small particle analysis, among which...
  • High transmission at high Mass Resolving Power (MRP): removal of background interference with minimal loss of transmissium
  • Ion Imaging capabilities for localizing U particles
  • Parallel detection of all U isotopes for optimized precision and greatly improved throughput
  • Automatic Particle Measurement software for fast screening of the sample to determine the location and enrichment of U particles

Nuclear particle screening using CAMECA APM sofware: above left, analysis of a sample containing standard µm-sized U particles with dual isotopic composition.

APM screening results are followed by more precise and accurate micro beam measurements performed on individual particles: on the right, excellent precision obtained for major 235U as well as minor 236U isotope composition in multicollection mode (sample containing standard U particles). Minor isotopes provide essential information about enrichment facilities, origin and type of feed materials.

Data from: P. Peres et al, Surface and Interface Analysis 45-1, 561-565 (2013)