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An overview of NRL's NAUTILUS: a combination SIMS-AMS for spatially resolved trace isotope analysis

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Abstract

We present a description of the capabilities and performance of the NAval Ultra-Trace Isotope Laboratory's Universal Spectrometer (NAUTILUS) at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. The NAUTILUS combines secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) and single-stage accelerator mass spectrometry (SSAMS) into a single unified instrument for spatially resolved trace element and isotope analysis. The NAUTILUS instrument is essentially a fully functional SIMS instrument with an additional molecule-filtering detector, the SSAMS. The combination of these two techniques mitigates the drawbacks of each and enables new measurement paradigms for SIMS-like microanalysis. Highlighted capabilities include molecule-free raster ion imaging for direct spatially resolved analysis of heterogeneous materials with or without perturbed isotopic compositions. The NAUTILUS' sensitivity to trace elements is at least 10× better than commercial SIMS instruments due to near-zero background conditions. We describe the design and construction of the NAUTILUS, and its performance applied to topics in nuclear materials analysis, cosmochemistry, and geochemistry.

Graphical abstract: An overview of NRL's NAUTILUS: a combination SIMS-AMS for spatially resolved trace isotope analysis

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Article information


Submitted
11 Oct 2019
Accepted
31 Jan 2020
First published
05 Feb 2020

J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

An overview of NRL's NAUTILUS: a combination SIMS-AMS for spatially resolved trace isotope analysis

E. E. Groopman, D. G. Willingham, A. J. Fahey and K. S. Grabowski, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9JA00344D

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