Production and Characterization of Monodisperse Plutonium, Uranium, and Mixed Uranium–Plutonium Particles for Nuclear Safeguard Applications

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


In Safeguards work under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the isotopic analysis of
uranium and plutonium micro particles has strengthened the means for detecting
undeclared nuclear activities. In order to assure accuracy and precision in the
analytical methodologies used, the instrumental techniques need to be calibrated.
The objective of this study was to produce and characterize particles consisting of
U, Pu and mixed U–Pu, suitable for such reliability verifications. A TSI vibrating
orifice aerosol generator in connection with a furnace system was used to produce
micrometer sized, monodispersed particles from reference U and Pu materials in
solutions. The particle masses (in the range of 3-6 pg between batches) and sizes
(~1.5 μm) were controlled by the experimental conditions and the parameters for
the aerosol generator. Size distributions were obtained from scanning electron
microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis confirmed that the particle
composition agreed with the starting material used. A secondary ion mass
spectrometer (SIMS) was used to characterize the isotopic composition of the
particles. Isobaric and polyatomic interference in the SIMS spectra was identified.
In order to obtain accurate estimates of the interference, a batch of Pu particles
were produced of mainly 242Pu. These were used for SIMS analysis to characterize
the behavior of Pu hydride and to determine the SIMS useful yields of U and Pu.
It was found that Pu had a higher propensity to form the hydride than U. Useful
yields were determined at a mass resolution of 450 for U–Pu particles: (1.71 ±
0.15) % for Pu and (0.72 ± 0.06) % for U, and for Pu particles: (1.65 ± 0.14) %
for Pu. This gave a relative sensitivity factor between U and Pu of 2.4 ± 0.2.


  • Ylva Ranebo
  • Nedialka Niagolova
  • Nicole Erdmann
  • Gabriele Tamborini
  • Maria Betti
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Analytisk kemi


Sidor (från-till)4055-4062
TidskriftAnalytical Chemistry
StatusPublished - 2010
Peer review utfördNej

Relaterad forskningsoutput

Ranebo, Y., 2009, Lund University (Media-Tryck). 62 s.

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (sammanläggning)

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