Hope College Physics Department
Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Summer 2013
Project Summary

 

Project Title: Differential PIXE Analysis of Acrylic Samples to Parameterize Bremmstrahlung Bacgound
Student Name: Jarrhett Butler
Student's Home Institution: Morehouse College
Research Advisor: Dr. Paul DeYoung and Dr. Graham Peaslee
Source of Support:

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-REU Grant No. PHY/DMR-1004811. and under NSF- Grant No. PHY-0969058

Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) analysis of thick acrylic samples is complicated by bremsstrahlung radiation. PIXE utilizes a particle beam to analyze the elemental composition of a sample. Differential PIXE (dPIXE) is the varying of beam energies to penetrate into different depths of a sample. In order to meticulously characterize the bremsstrahlung background, thick acrylic samples were constructed with a low concentration of heavy elements. With quantification of the background, a more accurate computation of concentrations can be achieved in regions where both bremsstrahlung and characteristic elemental peaks are present in auto paint samples. Data show a correlation between the beam energy and the width and center of the bremsstrahlung peak. The quantified parameters make for straightforward fits of the bremsstrahlung on all spectra of elemental peaks within bremsstrahlung region.

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