This results in reduced costs with increased product quality.
Neutrons from a research reactor can interact with atoms in a sample causing the emission of gamma rays which, when analysed for characteristic energies and intensity, will identify the types and quantities of elements present.
It also has some applications in geology; its importance in dating organic materials cannot be underestimated enough.
In 1979, Desmond Clark said of the method “we would still be foundering in a sea of imprecisions sometime bred of inspired guesswork but more often of imaginative speculation” (3).
NIS reactions are particularly useful for elements such as C, O, Al & Si which have a low neutron capture cross section.
The continuous analysis and rapid response of nuclear techniques, many involving radioisotopes, mean that reliable flow and analytic data can be constantly available.There are three carbon isotopes that occur as part of the Earth's natural processes; these are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.The unstable nature of carbon 14 (with a precise half-life that makes it easy to measure) means it is ideal as an absolute dating method.Radiocarbon dating may only be used on organic materials.Typically (6): The above list is not exhaustive; most organic material is suitable so long as it is of sufficient age and has not mineralised - dinosaur bones are out as they no longer have any carbon left.date of organic material - but an approximate age, usually within a range of a few years either way.