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CSIRO-GEMOC Nuclear Microprobe CSIRO
Interactions of MeV ions with matter permit microanalysis and imaging of sample constituents using excited X-rays (PIXE - Proton Induced X-ray Emission), gamma-rays from nuclear reactions (PIGE - Proton Induced Gamma-ray Emission), outgoing nuclear reaction particles (NRA - Nuclear Reaction Analysis), elastically scattered ions (BS - Backscattering), (ERDA - Elastic Recoil Detection Analysis), or visible and infrared emissions from the sample (IL - Ionoluminescence).

The ion beam can also be channelled down crystal axes and planes. Many of these techniques can be combined with channelling to study the lattice location of species (CCM - Channelling Contrast Microscopy).

MeV protons are very penetrating while producing very little sample damage. These qualities permit the in situ, non-destructive analysis and imaging of buried structures such as solid and fluid inclusions in minerals.

Proton Induced X-ray Emission

Proton Induced Gamma-ray Emission


Elastic Recoil Detection Analysis

Nuclear Reaction Analysis

Channelling Contrast Microscopy


Return to NMP microanalysis

BS - Backscattering Spectrometry

Detection of beam particles that have been elastically scattering by target nuclei provides a tool sensitive to target atom mass. With the added effect of the slowing down of the beam particles as they penetrate the sample, and the energy lost by outgoing scattered particles, information on the depth profile of the different mass atoms in the sample can be extracted.

Sensitivities at the ppm level can be achieved for heavy elements in a lighter sample matrix. Furthermore, with greatly enhanced scattering yields for light target nuclei caused by a strong nuclear interaction component, BS is well suited to light element detection.

Further Reading:

  • M.B.H. Breese, D.N. Jamieson and P.J.C. King, "Materials Analysis using a Nuclear Microprobe", Wiley and Sons, New York, 1996.

For further information contact: Dr. Chris Ryan via email: (

+61-2-9490 8673
+61-2-9490 8909

CSIRO Exploration and Mining
PO Box 136
North Ryde NSW 2113

CSIRO-GEMOC Nuclear Microprobe
CSIRO Exploration and Mining

CSIRO © 1999-2002

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