Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Environmental Engineering and Earth Science

Committee Member

Dr. Brian Powell, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Timothy DeVol

Committee Member

Dr. Glenn Fugate

Abstract

To fulfill a need for rapid, simple, and inexpensive ways to identify alpha emitting radioisotopes (i.e. primarily actinides), a method has been developed for the analysis of plutonium by combining concentration and source preparation into a single step using functionalized or coated substrates. Two substrates were utilized in this work 1) glass slides functionalized using polymerized aspartic acid and 2) glass discs coated with graphene oxide (GO) prepared by spin coating. Uptake of plutonium on both substrates was low, on the order of 1% of the total activity in the system. However, GO was found to have superior resolution. As a practical demonstration of the utility of this approach, GO coated glass discs were used to concentrate plutonium from up to 3.7 liters of water and then assayed directly. No pretreatment or separation of the spiked water was required and the procedure can be complete within 24 hours (allowing for a 12 hour count time). Due to the thin layer of sorbent, self-absorption was kept to a minimum and full width half maximum values were commonly seen between 17 keV and 39 keV at 5.6 MeV. However, the requirement for this thin layer causes a reduction in uptake efficiency due to the low mass of GO on the substrate.

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