Hope College Physics Department
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Summer 2009
Project Summary


Project Title: Differential PIXE
Student Name: Matthew Keller
Student's Home Institution: Hope College
Research Advisor: Dr. Paul DeYoung and Dr. Graham Peaslee
Source of Support: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-REU Grant No. PHY-0452206 and by the National Science Foundation under grant No. RUI-0651627.

Current techniques for analyzing multi-layered materials are extremely time consuming, labor intensive and destructive. Differential PIXE is a forensic technique being developed for the analysis of multi-layered substances that will be more efficient than current techniques, but without any loss of accuracy and without destruction of the sample. This technique is based on Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), a common technique for elemental characterization of samples using a particle accelerator. In Differential PIXE, one varies the incident beam energy to allow for selective penetration into layers of a target and therefore selective production of x-rays from the target. Application of Differential PIXE to multi-layered auto-paint samples shows promising initial results. The ultimate goal is to determine quantitative values from the raw X-ray spectra. The commercial peak-fitting program GeoPIXE is being used as the analysis tool for Differential PIXE because of GeoPIXE’s ability to fit spectra from layered samples. Understanding of GeoPIXE’s abilities and development of this technique are still ongoing.

Publications and Presentations:
“Analysis of Electrodeposited Nickel-Iron Alloy Film Composition UsingParticle-Induced X-ray Emission”, Alyssa A. Frey*, Nicholas R. Wozniak*, Timothy B. Nagi*, Matthew P. Keller*, J. Mark Lunderberg*, Graham F. Peaslee, Paul A. DeYoung, and Jennifer R. Hampton. Int. J. Electrochem, IJELC/604395, (2011).
“Particle-Induced X-ray Emission Analysis of Electrodeposited Alloy Film Composition.” Jennifer Hampton, Alyssa Frey*, Nicholas Wozniak*, Timothy Nagi*, Matthew Keller*, J. Lunderberg, Graham Peaslee, and Paul DeYoung. Submitted to J. Electrochem. Soc. (2010).