Chemistry Division

Chemistry Division Capabilities

Actinide Analytical Chemistry, C-AAC
Chemical Diagnostics and Engineering, C-CDE
Inorganic, Isotope, and Actinide Chemistry, C-IIAC
Nuclear and Radiochemistry, C-NR
Physical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, C-PCS

Actinide Analytical Chemistry, C-AACChemistry Division Capabilities

Onsite Analytical Chemistry

  • Provide onsite radiochemistry and trace metal analysis by inductive coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) at Technical Area 55.

Pu Assay and Classical Chemistry

  • Controlled potential coulometric titration
  • Ceric titration - photometric method
  • Pu (III) and Pu (IV) spectrophotometric method
  • U Assay – Davies Gray
  • Fe determination by spectrophotometry
  • Si determination by spectrophotometry
  • Loss on Ignition (LOI)
  • Free acid determination in plutonium-containing solutions
  • Standard solution preparation

Trace Element Analysis

  • Inductively coupled plasma atomic emission and mass spectrometry (ICP-AES/ICP-MS)
  • Direct current arc emission spectroscopy
  • Cold vapor atomic fluorescence
  • Sample preparations

Elemental Analysis by X-ray Fluorescence

  • Wavelength dispersive x-ray fluorescence

Mass Spectrometry Analysis

  • Thermal ionization mass spectrometry
  • High precision gas mass spectrometry

Radiochemical Analysis

  • Separations and sample preparation
  • Alpha spectroscopy
  • Gamma-ray spectroscopy
  • Gas proportional counters
  • Liquid scintillation counting
  • Automatic gamma counters

Ion Chromatography

  • Inorganic and organic cations and anions

Interstitial Gas Analysis

  • C, H, O, N
  • Moisture
  • Tritium

Other Activities

  • Nuclear forensic determination
  • Radiation chemistry
  • Fabrication of actinide NDA standards
  • Fabrication and certification of high purity Pu metal standards
  • Plutonium exchange program
inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer

A new inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES) in a chemical fume hood

Nuclear and Radiochemistry , C-NRChemistry Division Capabilities

Nuclear Weapons Performance Assessment and Data Interpretation

C-NR validates the performance of nuclear weapons as measured by radioanalytical techniques.

DANCE detector DANCE instrument

The DANCE detector, a 160 element BaF2 γ-array, is used to measure neutron capture and fission cross sections at the Lujan Center/LANSCE. Only half of the detector is shown. A parallel plate avalanche counter (PPAC), shown in the inset, is used to tag fission events for actinide targets that plug directly into the counter. In this way, fission and neutron capture events can be separated.

Radioanalytical Measurements

The Radioanalytical capability utilizes radiochemistry, mass spectrometry and counting technologies to perform routine environmental monitoring in support of treaty verification and other threat reduction missions.

Nuclear Chemistry

C-NR performs fundamental and applied research extending from the measurement of neutron-induced reaction cross sections to the trapping of radioactive atoms. Advanced studies of nuclear fission, neutron capture, nuclear isomers, along with the development of radiochemical diagnostics for inertial confined fusion are underway. Radiochemistry is used to isolate reaction products of interest or to make radioactive targets. We are also developing new technologies for the ultra-sensitive detection of actinides and other isotopes of interest for threat reduction and stockpile stewardship. We work closely with collaborators from universities, other national laboratories, and with other LANL groups.

Measurement of Radionuclides in the Environment

C-NR has methodologies and facilities for measurement of very low concentrations of radionuclides in environmental samples.

Mass Separation and Mass Spectrometry

C-NR has some of the best equipment, methodologies, and facilities for mass separations and mass spectrometry available today. We can measure very low concentrations of radiouclides and have some of the best facilities in the world for isotope ratio measurements.

In Vitro Bioassay Measurements

The Bioassay Program Team in C-NR supports the Laboratory mission by providing plutonium, americium, and tritium bioassay monitoring for radiation workers.

Radioactive Atom Trapping

C-NR has the capability to trap radioactive atoms for a wide variety of research purposes, including quantum computation.

atom trapping

Mission Thrust Areas within C-NR

  • Nuclear and radiochemistry analysis (experimental and calculational) in support of the assessment and validation of nuclear weapons performance.
  • Low-level radioanalysis of environmental and biological samples.
  • The development and application of radiochemistry and radioanalytical methods.


September 2009

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