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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Andrea Voit PR-Referentin FRM II +49 89 289 12141 Andrea.firstname.lastname@example.org an air filter. A magnetic meteorite sample weighing less than one milligram was also analyzed. The results of the analysis helped classify the meteorite. In this way, a theory making a meteorite impact in North America around 13,000 years ago responsible for the extinction of the mammoths could be verified.Contact:
Dr. Andreas Battenberg | EurekAlert!
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
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Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
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08.12.2017 | Information Technology