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Curium-244 alpha-sources for space research

, : Curium-244 alpha-sources for space research. Applied Radiation and Isotopes 53(4-5): 821-824

Special alpha-proton-X-ray spectrometric complexes (APXS) have been developed in order to perform chemical analyses of the Mars atmosphere and rock surface compounds by alpha back-scattering, alpha-proton measurements, and X-ray fluorescence. The sources were prepared by high temperature condensation of metal curium vapour onto silicon substrates. They are silicon disks with curium-244 fixed on their surfaces as a silicide. The sources have overall dimensions as follows: disk diameter 8 mm; thickness 0.3 mm; and 6 mm diameter active spot. The source activities are 5 +/- 1 mCi and the alpha-line half-widths are equal to (1.7-2.5) and (2.9-4.5)% of full width at 10% of Maximum (Maximum is equal to 5.8 MeV). Thermovacuum (from 196 to 1000 degrees C), mechanical, and resource tests were performed and demonstrated that the sources maintained their characteristics. The applicability of the sources for the above-mentioned analytical purposes was confirmed during NASA Mars Pathfinder mission.


PMID: 11003526

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