Trace Element Research :PIXE


The Centre supports multi-disciplinary research activities based on Trace Elemental analysis. (Trace Element : chemical element required in minute quantities by an organism to maintain proper physical functioning)

Particle Induced X-ray Emission is a non-destructive method of elemental analysis, where the "Particle Induced" referes to the energy source which causes the X-ray emission.

In our case PIXE stands for Proton Induced X-ray Emission, which utilizes Proton beams accelerated (upto 3 MeV) by small-sized accelerators .

The energetic protons when incident on the sample ejects one of the inner-shell (K- and L-shell) electrons. The resulting vacancy is filled with outer-shell electrons through electron transition, which produces characteristic X-rays. Since X-rays have their energy determined by the atomic number, they bear the finger-prints of the element producing them, providing a tool for elemental analysis.

PIXE experiments are carried out at Institute Of Physics, Bhubaneswar, using the 3 MV Tandem Pelletron Accelerator.

Experimental parameters

Proton Energy 2.5 - 3MeV (ideal)
Current 1-50 nA
Target-to-Detector distance 3-5 cm
Target is inclined w.r.t beam by 45 degrees
Beam size 1 – 2 mm
Beam Current 1-50 nA
Beam size 1 – 2 mm
Detector Resolution 160 eV at 5.9 keV
Standards NIST standards
Calibration Am241 source.
Backings Kapton, Mylar
Best Sensitivities 20 < Z < 40; Z > 75
Detection Limits < 1ppm

Trace Elemental Research has important applications in Environmental, Biological, Geological and Chemical Sciences.

Contact : Dr M Sudarshan : sude@alpha.iuc.res.in