Ultratrace analysis of plutonium in environmental samples by resonance ionization mass spectrometry (RIMS)

Trautmann, N.; Erdmann, N.; Gru¨ning, C.; Kratz, J. V.; Waldek, A.; Huber, G.; Nunnemann, M.; Passler, G.
July 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 532 Issue 1, p322
Academic Journal
Plutonium is present in the environment mainly as a result of global fallout from nuclear weapons tests, satellite and reactor accidents as well as releases from nuclear facilities. Sensitive and fast detection methods are required for risk assessment, low-level surveillance of the environment, personnel dose monitoring, studies of biological effects and investigations of the migration behavior of plutonium. Furthermore, the isotopic composition is of interest to get information from what source the plutonium contamination originated. Alpha-spectroscopy is most frequently used for the determination of trace amounts of plutonium in the environment with the disadvantage that the detection sensitivity depends on the half-life of the isotope to be measured and that there are limitations in the isotopic resolution. Conventional mass spectrometry may suffer from isobaric interferences. Therefore, in the last years resonant laser ionization mass spectrometry (RIMS) has been explored as an alternative for ultratrace analysis of plutonium. This method provides a high element and isotope selectivity and a good overall efficiency, resulting in a detection limit of ∼10[sup 6] atoms (∼0.4 fg). RIMS meets also the requirements of a low background and a short measuring time (1-2 h). © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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