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  • Author or Editor: T. Vasilopoulou x
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Abstract  

A technique was developed for the identification of inhomogeneities in activity distribution and the correction of their effect on the interpretation of gamma spectrometry data in Large Sample Neutron Activation Analysis. The method was based on collimated gamma scanning using a germanium detector to obtain the activity pattern in the bulk sample and Monte Carlo simulations in order to correct the experimental data for the effect of the inhomogeneous activity distribution. The method was experimentally evaluated in the case of a large cylindrical reference sample of 2 L in volume containing quartz as matrix material and a known source of radioactivity and an excellent agreement was observed. The discussed technique improves the trueness of quantitative analysis of large samples with inhomogeneous activity distribution.

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Abstract  

Large Sample Neutron Activation Analysis (LSNAA) was applied to perform non-destructive elemental analysis of a ceramic vase. Appropriate neutron self-shielding and gamma ray detection efficiency calibration factors were derived using Monte Carlo code MCNP5. The results of LSNAA were compared against Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) results and a satisfactory agreement between the two methods was observed. The ratio of derived concentrations between the two methods was within 0.7 and 1.3. Estimation of the activity level decay with time showed that the vase could be released from regulatory control at about 3 months post-irradiation. This study provided an analytical procedure for bulk sample analysis of precious and archaeological objects that need to be preserved intact and cannot be damaged for sampling purposes.

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Abstract  

A benchmark experiment was performed for Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) of a large inhomogeneous sample. The reference sample was developed in-house and consisted of SiO2 matrix and an Al–Zn alloy “inhomogeneity” body. Monte Carlo simulations were employed to derive appropriate correction factors for neutron self-shielding during irradiation as well as self-attenuation of gamma rays and sample geometry during counting. The large sample neutron activation analysis (LSNAA) results were compared against reference values and the trueness of the technique was evaluated. An agreement within ±10% was observed between LSNAA and reference elemental mass values, for all matrix and inhomogeneity elements except Samarium, provided that the inhomogeneity body was fully simulated. However, in cases that the inhomogeneity was treated as not known, the results showed a reasonable agreement for most matrix elements, while large discrepancies were observed for the inhomogeneity elements. This study provided a quantification of the uncertainties associated with inhomogeneity in large sample analysis and contributed to the identification of the needs for future development of LSNAA facilities for analysis of inhomogeneous samples.

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