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Determination of Impurities in Uranium and Plutonium Dioxides by Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy

Volume 53, Number 9 (Sept. 1999) Page 1111-1117

Fichet, P.; Mauchien, P.; Moulin, C.

Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), a spectrochemical technique in which a laser beam is used as the excitation source, was applied to detect trace elements contained in uranium and plutonium dioxides. Partial spectra of plasmas, generated by focusing the second harmonic (lambda = 532 nm) of a pulsed Nd:YAG laser on UO2 and PuO2 targets at atmospheric pressure, were recorded. Eighteen impurities at concentrations of about 500 ppm (mu g/g) and twelve at concentrations of about 100 ppm, respectively, were observed in the rich emission matrices UO2 and PuO2. The possibility of quantifying impurities in such matrices is discussed.