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  • 1 Loughborough University of Technology Leicestershire England
  • 2 AERE, Harwell Oxon England
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Prompt ion beam analysis methods can be used to measure the isotopic composition of materials. When applied using microbeams of charged particles they have the potential to measure the spatial distribution of isotopes. The value of Rutherford backscattering for isotope measurement is examined both from the point of view of the measurement of stable isotope abundances and the spatial distribution of stable isotope tracers. Parametes which affect the mass resolution and sensitivity are examined including incident particle energy and mass, scattering angle, energy spread of the incident beam, detector resolution and solid angle effects. Experimental measurement of the isotopic abundances of several elements are presented including magnesium, nickel and silver. A variety of incident ions and energies and different detection systems are used. The limitations of the method are discussed and its extension to nuclear microprobe application, with its spatial tracer determination capabilities, is appraised.