Nuclear Reaction Analysis (NRA) for Profiling Light Elements

Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) is a powerful general method for analyzing thin films. However, RBS has low sensitivity for light elements. Because of this, nuclear reaction methods (NRA) have been developed as a complement to RBS.

Perhaps the most important example of NRA is the measure of hydrogen concentration profiles using the resonant nuclear reaction between 15N and 1H. This method has a sensitivity ~100 ppm (atomic) and a depth resolution ~100 A. Albany is well known internationally for its experience in NRA for hydrogen in materials. This method is described in the following publication.

Nuclear Reactions for Hydrogen Analysis.
W. A. Lanford, in the Handbook of Modern Ion Beam Analysis ed. by J. Tesmer and M. Nastasi, Materials Research Society (1995)193.

While a majority of NRA measurements in our laboratory is for hydrogen analysis, the same general approach can be used for a variety of other elements. At the moment, Albany has available a system that is capable of profiling H, Li, F, Al and Na. The general analytic characteristics of this method is described in the following publication:

Prompt-Gamma Resonant Nuclear Reaction Analysis for Light Elements: H., Li, F and Na.
W. A. Lanford, K. Cummings, A. Haberl and C. Shepard, Proceedings, NATO Advanced Study Institute on Application of Particle and Laser Beams in Materials Technology, May 8-21, 1994, Chalkidike, Greece, ed. P. Misaelides, Kluwer, Dordrecht (1995) 375.