Prompt-gamma Activation Analysis

Introduction to the Prompt-gamma Activation Analysis

Prompt-gamma activation analysis (PGAA or PGNAA) is a nuclear analytical technique for non-destructive determination of elemental and isotopic compositions. The sample is irradiated in a neutron beam and the gamma-rays from the radiative capture are detected. All elements can be analyzed (except helium), without any prior information on the analyte. Contrary to the conventional neutron activation analysis (NAA), the irradiation and the detection is simultaneous. The energies and intensities of the peaks are independent of the chemical state of the material; hence the analytical result is free of matrix effects. Both neutrons and gamma-rays are highly penetrating, therefore - in contrast to many instrumental elemental analysis techniques - the average composition of the entire illuminated volume is obtained. Every step of the measurement and the evaluation can be described with statistical methods, and the uncertainties of the concentrations can be readily estimated from one measurement.

Geological, archeological, environmental samples, artifacts, minerals, metals, glasses, catalysts, ceramics are routinely analyzed, as well as samples from the industry. Measurements for material science, nuclear technology, nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure are also regularly carried out.

For more detailed information please visit the website of the Nuclear Research Department.