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The application of scanning electron microscopy to the determination of elemental and isotopic composition in individual actinide particles

  • Cattle, G.
  • Tushingham, J.
  • Vatter, I.
  • AEA Technology plc, Harwell (United King...
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
OpenGrey Repository


Techniques for the determination of both elemental and isotopic composition of actinides within single particles are required by the IAEA in support of their environmental safeguards programme. SEM and SIMS are valuable techniques for the measurement of elemental and isotopic composition, respectively, on the particle scale. The potential for effective combination of SEM and SIMS has been investigated at Harwell Laboratory. In trials, copper finder grids have been successfully used to enable re-identification of particles between SEM and SIMS instruments. Use of the grids enables rapid relocation of particles pre-selected by SEM for SIMS measurement. The work has highlighted a possible matrix effect in plutonium measurement that results in variable sensitivity dependent on the presence of other elements (including uranium). This effect would limit the use of SIMS to obtain elemental ratios, and highlights the requirement to use both SEM and SIMS to gain full and accurate information. The possible use of autoradiography as an adjunct to SEM has been investigated. In principle, autoradiography could be used to identify higher enrichments of uranium and enable pre-selection of particles for SIMS measurement. During trials, practical problems have been encountered which have demonstrated this particular approach to be unsuitable. (author) / Also issued as AEAT/R/NS/0108 and UK A01036 / Available from British Library Document Supply Centre-DSC:9082.66732(277) / BLDSC - British Library Document Supply Centre / SIGLE / GB / United Kingdom

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