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Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA) is a non-destructive bulk analytical tool for determination of elemental composition, based on the detection of prompt-gamma radiation induced by neutron capture into the atomic nucleus. The method is suitable to quantify the most major components and a few trace elements (e.g. B, Cl, Co, Cd, Hg, Sm and Gd) in rocks, minerals, ceramics, glass, metals and many inorganic materials. Compared to other analytical techniques, the PGAA has lower sensitivity for many geochemically important trace elements, thus application of complementary techniques are recommended.

Technical details

The PGAA instrument is located near the end position of the neutron guide No. 1. The upgraded 2Qc supermirror neutron guide improved the thermal-equivalent neutron flux at the PGAA sample positions to 9.6Å~107 cm–2 s–1. The beam can be collimated to a maximum cross-section of 2Å~2 cm2. Other cross-sections of 14Å~14 mm2, 10Å~10 mm2, 42 mm2, 23 mm2, 5 mm2 can be adjusted. Furthermore, a 1/30 attenuator can be applied to reduce the beam intensity, if necessary. A pneumatically actuated instrument shutter is used to control the entry of the neutron beam into the cabin while two computer-controlled secondary shutters are in place to allow independent operation of the PGAA and NIPS/NORMA facilities. The targets are mounted on thin Al frames by Teflon strings. The detector system of the PGAA facility consists of an n-type high-purity germanium (Canberra HPGe 2720/S) main detector with closed-end coaxial geometry, and a BGO Compton-suppressor surrounded by a 10 cm thick lead shielding.

Further readings
  1. Szentmiklósi, L., Belgya, T., Révay, Zs., Kis, Z., 2010. Upgrade of the prompt gamma activation analysis and the neutron-induced prompt gamma spectroscopy facilities at the Budapest Research Reactor. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 286, 501-505.