Development of analysis methodology using Proton Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) as a complementary technique to determine trace elements in environmental matrices
This article presents the methodology of analysis of industrial and environmental materials using Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) technique. The application of thick target PIXE technique using a 3 MeV proton beam at 3 MV Tandetron at Horia Hulubei National Institute for R&D in Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH), Romania, in industrial and environmental complex studies proved to be very useful for the identification of a large series of trace elements, some of them being toxic for living organisms and humans and others contributing to the elemental cycling in natural environments. The main elements determined by PIXE are K, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Br, Rb, Sr and Pb, using High Purity Germanium (HPGe) GDP-05145 (BSI) type detector of 20 mm2 surface, 8 mm thickness. In addition, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, and Cl could be determined using external beam PIXE with X-123 SDD Fast Amptek silicon detector of 25 mm2 surface, 500 µm thickness. PIXE technique successfully complements other atomic and nuclear techniques, such as: energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF), instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and ion beam technique particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE). A discussion is made regarding the suitability of PIXE technique to be further used in studies related to soil-crop toxic metal transfer in an agroecosystem, as well as heavy metals biosorbtion from industrial wastewater, for the investigation of level of contamination with metals and toxicants occurrence in environmental factors and human health risk assessment. The paper was presented at the Scientific Conference of the Doctoral School of "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati (SCDS-UDJG), 7th edition, Galati, Romania, 13-14 June, 2019.