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19 October 1983 Noble Gas Detection Using Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy and a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer
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The technique of Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy (RIS) is being extended to develop a means for counting individual atoms of a selected isotope of a noble gas. In this method, lasers are used for RIS to obtain atomic species (Z) selectivity and a small quadrupole mass spectrometer provides isotopic (A) selectivity. A progress report on the objective of counting each atom of a particular isotope of a noble gas is given. Resonance ionization spectroscopy and its use for the detection of single atoms has been reviewed.' More recently, our efforts at ORNL have turned to the problem of direct counting of noble gas atoms2,3,4 as an alternative to decay counting of particular isotopes of noble gas species. For broader applications, the ORNL group is trying to develop a facility for counting a few rare gas atoms of a given isotopic variety in a sample. The detection of a small number of 81Kr atoms (<1000) is very important for groundwater dating, polar ice-cap dating, and nuclear waste disposal applications, and solar neutrino research. The ultimate goal is to count a small number (e.g., 100 to 1,000) of selected atoms having mass number A, even when mixed with 1012 or more atoms having mass number ± 1. The experimental schematic is shown in Figure 1. The concept for counting noble gas atoms with isotopic selectivity is to utilize a laser for ionizing atoms of a selected atomic
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C. H. Chen and G. S. Hurst "Noble Gas Detection Using Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy and a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer", Proc. SPIE 0426, Laser-Based Ultrasensitive Spectroscopy and Detection V, (19 October 1983);

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