Measuring recoil from nuclear decay identifies isotopes — ScienceDaily


Laser-primarily based ‘optical tweezers’ could levitate uranium and plutonium particles, consequently letting the measurement of nuclear recoil throughout radioactive decay. This system, proposed by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides a new process for conducting the radioactive particle analysis critical to nuclear forensics.

“Our notion relies on trapping a particle employing ‘optical tweezers,’ a strategy which is the subject of this year’s Nobel prize in Physics,” stated Alonso Castro of the Lab’s Actinide Analytical Chemistry team, 1 of the authors of a new paper in the journal Physical Review A. “It is only fitting that [Nobel prize winner] Arthur Ashkin’s invention is still yielding novel science even immediately after 30 a long time.”

The team’s get the job done exhibits that, for micrometer and sub-micrometer particles, the kinetic strength of the emitted nuclear particle, or daughter particle, can be established quite accurately by measuring the recoil of the sample particle levitated in a laser-powered optical lure. The sample particle absolutely absorbs the recoil momentum of the daughter atom resulting in a very well-described oscillation in the harmonic possible of the trap.

“For apps these types of as nuclear forensic analysis, this approach could have major value. Therefore significantly, we have been in a position to keep uranium particles in optical traps, and we find that keeping them in position, with their oscillation electricity ‘cooled,’ gives us the prospect to see the recoil when the daughter atom’s movement will cause displacement of the sample,” claimed Castro.

“The up coming phase would be to measure those people displacements and then calculate the strength of the recoil. The effects of our solution is that it can very rapidly determine the isotopic composition of the varieties of nanometer and micrometer-sized particles uncovered in nuclear forensic eventualities,” he claimed.

Nuclear forensics is the evaluation of nuclear and other radioactive materials to ascertain the origin and history of the products in the context of legislation enforcement investigations or the evaluation of nuclear safety vulnerabilities. Los Alamos conducts a broad array of nuclear forensic science in support of the Laboratory’s nationwide security mission.

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Components provided by DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory. Notice: Written content could be edited for fashion and duration.



Measuring recoil from nuclear decay identifies isotopes — ScienceDaily