Determination of fluorine in uranium oxyfluoride particles as an indicator of particle age

Ruth Kips, AJ Pidduck, MR Houlton, Ann Leenaers, JD Mace, O Marie, F Pointurier, E Stefaniak, P Taylor, Sven Van den Berghe, P Vanespen, R Vangrieken, R Wellum

    Research outputpeer-review


    As swipe samples from enrichment activities typically contain uranium particles with a detectable amount of fluorine, the question was raised whether the analysis of fluorine in particles could complement the information on the uranium isotope ratios. For this, uranium oxyfluoride particles were prepared from the controlled hydrolysis of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). The relative amount of fluorine was characterized by scanning electron microscopy combined with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX), as well as ion-microprobe secondary ion mass spectrometry (IM-SIMS). Of particular interest was the assessment of the reduction of the amount of fluorine over time, and after exposure to UV-light and high temperatures. Micro-Raman spectrometry (MRS) was applied to look for differences in molecular structure between these various sample types. Both SEM-EDX and IM-SIMS showed a general reduction of the fluorine-to-uranium ratio after 1–2 years of storage. The exposure to UV-light and high temperatures was found to have accelerated the loss of fluorine. A distinct peak at 865 cm− 1 Raman shift was detected for the majority of particles analyzed by MRS. For the particles that were heat-treated, the Raman spectra were similar to the spectrum of U3O8.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)199-207
    JournalSpectrochimica Acta Part B : Atomic Spectroscopy
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2009

    Cite this