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Optimization and implementation as a routine of the k0-INAA standardization method at the neutron activation analysis laboratory of IPEN/CNEN-SP

Abstract

The Neutron Activation Analysis Laboratory (LAN-IPEN) has been analyzing different kind of samples for decades, using the comparative method of Neutron Activation Analysis at the IEA-R1 nuclear reactor. In this method, samples and standards are irradiated simultaneously with neutrons under the same conditions. Elemental concentrations are calculated by comparison of the activities of the gamma-rays from the sample and standard. This procedure requires the preparation of element standards, which is very laborious and time consuming. Furthermore, some elements present in the sample can not be analyzed due to the absence of a corresponding element standard. The k0-NAA method has come as an alternative of the comparative and absolute neutron activation analysis. This method consists of determining the necessary nuclear data to calculate the activity by irradiating flux monitors. The elemental concentration is calculated in relation to one element, generally gold, eliminating the use of standards. The LAN-IPEN has developed a master degree program, funded by FAPESP (Process FAPESP No.2009/12311-5) to implement the K0-INAA method to geological sample analysis, with quite good results. Nevertheless, in order to implement the k0-INAA method as a routine, for the use of all the researchers and students at LAN-IPEN, it is very important to determine the physical parameters of the IEA-R1 irradiation facilities and to characterize the gamma ray spectrometers of LAN-IPEN. Otherwise, the method must be validated for all kinds of samples analyzed at LAN-IPEN, other than geological. It will also be necessary to train the researchers in the use of the k0-INAA method, which includes the use of the softwares for calculations. The invited professor has long standing experience in Nuclear Physics and in the k0-INAA method. He implemented the k0 method at CDTN/CNEN, by using the k0-IAEA software, provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the commercial software KayWin. The objective of the visit is the optimization and implementation as a routine of the k0-IAEA method at LAN-IPEN. The k0-IAEA program will be installed in the gamma ray spectrometry systems of LAN-IPEN and several experimental parameters from the IEA-R1 facilities and from the gamma-ray spectrometers will be determined. The validation of the method will be made by the analysis of reference materials of different matrices. (AU)

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