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), Proton Induced Gamnma-ray Emission (PIGE), Rutherford Backscattering (RBS), or Elastic Recoil Detection Analysis (ERDA) techniques to analyze soils and sediments, liquid targets and atmospheric aerosol samples. Our 1-Megavolt 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 5 and 100-nanoamps. Our accelerator is over 30 years old, but it an amazing machine and it is in the prime of its lifetime of use. The accelerator is the showpiece of our new Integrated Science and Engineering Complex at Union College and serves the Department of Physics and Astronomy, as both as a research, teaching, and recuriting tool.
Please feel free to contact Prof. Scott LaBrake or Prof. Mike Vineyard with general or research based questions.