KT - nuclear physics and particle physics

KT.PIR - Elemental analysis by proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE)

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In this experiment we use a 2.66 MeV proton beam from the Tandem accelerator of the 2nd Institute of Physics. Students participate in the start-up of the accelerator. The protons irradiate a target and generate characteristic X-rays for almost any element (except light elements with Z ≤ 14) in the target. The X-rays are detected using a silicon drift detector with high energy resolution. In contrast to X-rays from electron excitation, Bremsstrahlung is almost negligible for protons. The 1mm2 diameter proton beam of 5 nA is extracted to air through a thin Si3N4 membrane. In this way any type of target can be analyzed, such as jewelry, ceramics, paint and paintings, teeth and bones, wood, minerals, coins etc. Students are encouraged to bring their own samples. The analysis and fitting of the measured X-ray spectra is done during the experiment using comprehensive PIXE analysis software. We also discuss radiation safety issues and we also record gamma radiation spectra to detect fluorine in certain samples.

II. Physikalisches Institut, D-1.122