But that is not all: During the long maintenance break in 2011, the instrument PGAA (Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis) was improved to give it the best ratio between usable neutrons and noisy background radiation worldwide. It is now possible to determine the elementary composition of even smallest samples in the milligram range. The instrument is operated by the Universities of Cologne (Germany) and Bern (Switzerland).
Neutrons of the PGAA instrument activate the atoms of samples for which the precise composition is to be determined. The methodology is so extremely accurate that it is even possible to determine which mine delivered the ore used in a given antique coin. The PGAA generates up to 60 billion neutrons per square millimeter per second. That is an absolute world record among the scientific instruments of all research neutron sources. Other instruments produce only around half as many neutrons. “We require this high flux for small samples, for example,” explains Dr. Petra Kudejova, the responsible researcher at the PGAA. “These are samples of around one milligram.”
“We already had the highest neutrons flux, but also high levels of background radiation. That refers to radiation which derives not directly from the sample, but rather from scattered neutrons, which interfere with the measurements,” adds Dr. Zsolt Revay, also a researcher at the PGAA.
“A low level of background radiation is a prerequisite for examining small samples that react only very weakly to neutrons.” Revay and his team used the long maintenance break at the FRM II in 2011 to improve and reconfigure the shielding of the instrument in such a way that the distracting background radiation is reduced to merely one tenth of its prior value. The PGAA instrument is used primarily in the analysis of the elementary composition of objects. The measurement device can detect a single atom among one million other atoms.
This made it possible, for example, to detect tiniest traces of harmful substances captured by Technische Universitaet Muenchen Corporate Communications Center 80290 Munich, Germany www.tum.de
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Dr. Andreas Battenberg | EurekAlert!
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The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
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