Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cold Shot: Blasting Frozen Soil Sample With Ultraviolet Laser Reveals Uranium

Date:
September 20, 2006
Source:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have long known that uranium salts under ultraviolet light will glow an eerie greenish-yellow. The resolution of the spectral fingerprint becomes sharper as the temperature falls. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have now begun to exploit this quirk to hunt for previously hidden uranium in contaminated soils, they report at American Chemical Society national meeting.

Cryogenic time-resolved laser fluorescence spectrometer.
Credit: Image courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

If you want to ferret out uranium's hiding place in contaminated soil, freeze the dirt and zap it with a black light, an environmental scientist reported Tuesday at the American Chemical Society national meeting.

Scientists have long known that uranium salts under ultraviolet light will glow an eerie greenish-yellow in the dark. This phenomenon sent Henri Bequerel down the path that led to his discovery of radioactivity a century ago.

Others since noted a peculiar feature about the UV glow, or fluorescence spectra, of uranium salts: The resolution of the spectral fingerprint becomes sharper as the temperature falls.

Zheming Wang, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., has now dusted the frost off the files, applying a technique called cryogenic fluorescence spectroscopy to uranium in contaminated soil at a former nuclear fuel manufacturing site.

By cooling the sediments to minus 267 degrees Celsius, near the temperature of liquid helium, Wang and colleagues at the PNNL-based W.R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory hit a sample with UV laser on a contaminated sample to coax a uranium fluorescence intensity of more than five times that at room temperature.

What is more, other spectra that were absent at room temperature popped out when frozen, enabling Wang and colleagues to distinguish different forms of uranium from one another, including uranium-carbonate that moves readily underground and is a threat to water supplies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Cold Shot: Blasting Frozen Soil Sample With Ultraviolet Laser Reveals Uranium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203610.htm>.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2006, September 20). Cold Shot: Blasting Frozen Soil Sample With Ultraviolet Laser Reveals Uranium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203610.htm
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Cold Shot: Blasting Frozen Soil Sample With Ultraviolet Laser Reveals Uranium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060915203610.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins