New NEC Pelletron for RBS Analysis Has Its First User

MRL is very happy to announce that a new high-energy ion-beam accelerator has been added to our central research facilities and it is now available for the research community to use. 


According to research scientist Tim Spila, the 3SDH Pelletron from the National Electrostatics Corp, or NEC, is a 1.0 MV tandem electrostatic accelerator system designed to produce stable beams of He+ and He++ with energies of 2.0 MeV and 3.0 MeV, respectively. The system is currently configured for Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry (RBS) using He+ ions in the range 0.5-2.0 MeV. 


“RBS can be used to determine composition of thin films,” Spila said. “Like membranes and bulk materials with sample sizes between two and 25 milimeters.” 



CEE Ph.D. students Lauren Valentino and Abiodun Oki use the NEC Pelletron.
CEE Ph.D. students Lauren Valentino and Abiodun Oki use the NEC Pelletron.


Lauren Valentino, a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois, was the first user on the machine since the Pelletron has been added. Valentino has been working, along with others in her research group, on developing new membranes for water treatment applications. 


“When I was getting my master’s, I realized there was a lack of new materials in the market,” Valentino said. “Membranes are basically water filters, with microscopic pores that physically separate things from the water. Now, I’m making the top most layers of membranes for water treatment.” 


Valentino continued to say the MRL’s RBS machine is the only technique she can use to really see what elements are present in her samples and how deep the layers are within the membrane. 





Interested in using the NEC Pelletron for RBS analysis?

Take analytical X-Ray Safety training.  

Not a current user? Become one. 


For additional information, contact: 

Tim Spila, Senior Research Scientist in Materials Characterization