Standard Practice for Mounting Actinides for Alpha Spectrometry Using Neodymium Fluoride
The determination of actinides by alpha spectrometry is an essential function of many environmental programs. Alpha spectrometry allows the identification and quantification of most alpha-emitting actinides. Although numerous separation methods are used, the final sample preparation technique has historically been by electrodeposition. However, electrodeposition may have some drawbacks, such as time required, incompatibility with prior chemistry, thick deposits, and low recoveries. These problems can be minimized using the neodymium fluoride method.
The sample mounting technique described in this practice is rapid, adds an additional purification step, since only those elements that form insoluble fluorides are mounted, and the sample and filter media can be dissolved and remounted if problems occur. The recoveries are better and resolution approaches normal electrodeposited samples. Recoveries are sufficiently high that for survey work, if quantitative recoveries are not necessary, tracers can be omitted. Drawbacks to this technique include use of very hazardous hydrofluoric acid and the possibility of a non-reproducible and ill-defined counting geometry from filters that are not flat. Also, although the total turn around time for coprecipitation may be less than for electrodeposition, coprecipitation required more time and attention from the analyst.
1.1 This practice covers the preparation of separated fractions of actinides for alpha spectrometry as an alternate to electrodeposition. It is applicable to any of the actinides that can be dissolved in dilute hydrochloric acid. Examples of applicable samples would be the final elution from an ion exchange separation or the final strip from a solvent extraction separation.
1.2 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For a specific hazard statement, see Section 8.
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