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The nuclear detective: The role of particle characterisation

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The detection of nuclear signatures from associated processes or events has increasing world scale importance for nuclear security applications such as nuclear forensics, nuclear safeguards, arms control and non-proliferation activities. This seminar provides an overview of the role of particle characterisation in the evaluation and detection of key nuclear signatures and associated processes.

Particle characterisation is a unique area of material analysis providing trace signature information from a single micron-sized particle to form a picture of a nuclear event, or facility operations and processes. Techniques applied to particle samples to derive this information will be discussed and fictional case studies, based on real data, presented.

A key part of this analytical process is the application of the Mass Spectrometry to determine the characteristic isotopic fingerprint of individual particles. Mass Spectrometry can be applied in various forms to enable the direct analysis of particulate material and an overview of these techniques will be provided with particular focus on those currently being used at AWE as part of our role in supporting national nuclear security for the UK.

This talk is part of the Surfaces, Microstructure and Fracture Group series.

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