The Union College Ion-Beam Analysis Laboratory

Welcome to the Union College Ion-Bean Analysis Laboratory. In our lab we use applications of nuclear physics to study environmental problems. In particular we use different ion-beam analysis techniques as a probe of the elemental makeup of a target. Typically we perform Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) or Rutherford Backscattering (RBS) spectroscopic techniques to analyze solid, liquid and atmospheric aerosol samples, but we also have the capability of performing the spectroscoptic techniques of Proton Induced Gamma-ray Emission (PIGE) or Proton Elastic Scattering Analysis (PESA). Our Pelletron accelerator is a small tandem electrostatic accelerator (model 3SDH) made by the National Electrostatics Corporation.  It operates at a terminal potential of up to 1.1 Megavolts, producing protons of with energies up to 2.2 MeV  and alpha particles with energies up to 3.3 MeV.   The on-target beams currents typically run to something between 5 and 50 nanoamps.   Our accelerator is over 20 years old and it has been used both as a research and teaching tool. It has been a pretty reliable machine over the years.  Typical maintenance usually rebuilding the ion source and opening and cleaning the accelerator tank once a year and replacing the bearings in one of the three turbo-molecular pumps. 

The Union College Pelletron Accelerator

To see pictures of the various components of the accelerator, point your mouse over different pieces in the figure below. For a larger image, select the object by clicking the links to the left of the pictures.