- DesignationDirector - Life Sciences
- Director NameMrs. Champa Dissanayake
- Fax Number011-253-3448
Nuclear Analytical Testing Services
The nuclear analytical testing services are delivered through its main laboratories, the Low-Level Counting laboratory also known as the Gamma Spectrometry Laboratory, Alpha Spectrometry and Gross Alpha-Beta Counting Laboratory, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis laboratory, Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MA) Laboratory, Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) Laboratory.
Gamma Spectrometry Laboratory
The Gamma Spectrometry laboratory is assured high quality of service for its customers through operating in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 international standards for testing laboratories and consistently deliver technically valid test results. The laboratories participating in inter-laboratory comparisons and proficiency tests conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as tools for quality assurance and quality control of analytical results. These standards are universally recognized as the highest level of quality attainable by a testing laboratory. The Gamma Spectrometry laboratory is concentrated on performing radiation tests on materials and objects using the Gamma Spectroscopy technique to identify gamma-emitting radioactive nuclides within them, and its resulting radiation effects.
The laboratory houses four Sodium Iodide [NaI(Tl)] gamma detector systems for radioactivity screening of samples and three High Pure Germanium [HPGe] based high-resolution gamma spectrometry systems for further identification and quantification of radioactive nuclides in samples.
Some of the major tests currently performed can be summarized as follows,
Imported milk powder: Screening test is performed using gamma spectroscopy on imported milk foods for identifying Cesium-137 (Cs-137) and Cesium-134 (Cs-134) radionuclide
contaminations. The milk foods include full cream milk powder, skimmed milk powder, baby milk foods and other milk added products for nutritional purposes.
As per the government regulations laid down by regulatory authority for consumer protection LDB36/73-1995.07.15, the amount of radiation caused by Cs-137 should be assured to be less than 20 Bq/Kg for milk powder and 100 Bq/Kg for other food.
Comprehensive tests results and laboratory reports are issued directly for customers or designated regulatory bodies for further decision making or regulatory steps respectively.
Fig. 01: Gamma Spectrometry Laboratory
Fig.02: HPGe detector systems established in Gamma Spectrometry Laboratory
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) laboratory
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) technique is a major nuclear analytical technique widely used throughout the world for multi-elemental analysis, the identification of basic chemical elements that material or object is made of. The technique is considered to be a non-destructive method as opposed to other chemical tests that need the specimen in the test to be disintegrated for the purpose. Therefore, it finds advantages for both industrial and R & D activities where the sample should be preserved for future use.
The XRF laboratory of the Life Sciences Division having understood the above potential of this technique provides analytical tests for local industries, export, and import items and academic research purposes that require the identification of elements in a sample. Both qualitative measures where the identification of individual elements simultaneously and quantitative measures for quantifying the percentage or parts per million (ppm) of the sample can be performed.
The laboratory performs mainly three tests,
- Energy Dispersive XRF or EDXRF.
- Total internal reflection XRF or TXRF.
- Portable XRF for in-situ tests and non-destructive tests in laboratory for large items.
Testing services can be carried for following sample matrixes for commercial and R&D purposes,
- Soil and sediment samples.
- Vegetation samples.
- Food items.
- Minerals and rocks, gems and gold/silver items of suspicious composition.
- Raw metals and metal made items for composition analysis.
- Industrial items both imported or locally manufactured, for composition analysis and authentication.
- Analysis of industrial fittings such as water turbines, tubes, ducts, furnaces, metal structures for in-situ analysis for elemental composition analysis and corrosion study.
- Archaeological items such as metal artifacts, statues, replicas for composition analysis and authentication of originality.
- Suitable items directed for composition analysis for regulatory or legal purposes.
Comprehensive tests results and reports both qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis are issued directly for customers or designated regulatory bodies for further decision making or regulatory steps respectively.
Fig. 03: X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) laboratory
Fig.04: Operating of ED-XRF of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) laboratory
Fig. 05: Portable XRF machine
Alpha Spectrometry and Gross Alpha-Beta Laboratory
LSD has been performing alpha spectroscopy for the identification of alpha radiation-emitting radio nuclides mainly to support the environmental radiation monitoring program. Continuous air monitoring perfumed with portable air sampling devices gathers the air samples to filter paper from area suspicious of airborne radiation contamination. Such filter paper samples can be analyzed in this laboratory for radioactivity generated by gross alpha beta and specific alpha emitters. This kind of test can also be performed for natural pure water or wastewater of commercial and industrial sources for analysis of radiation contamination.
With the new Gross Alpha-Beta counting system added recently, it is hoped to extend the activities of the laboratory towards testing of water and wastewater from different sources, for radioactive contamination by measuring the gross alpha and gross beta radiation activity. This analytical service aims to fulfill the regulatory requirement of the National Environmental Act, No. 47 of 1980, gazette by the Ministry of Environment. Initiatives are to be taken for extending tests performed with this system for other samples, in the coming future.
With the addition of the latest alpha spectrometry device by Canberra, capable of performing tests on eight samples simultaneously, it is able to boost the efficiency of alpha spectrometry test performance for both commercial and R&D purposes.
Fig. 06: Alpha spectrometer with eight counting chambers
Fig. 07: Gross alpha beta counter
Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) laboratory
The LSD has established recently the first ever IRMS laboratory in Sri Lanka through the Technical Cooperation of International Atomic Energy Agency. The LSD is in the process of developing methodologies in the analysis of stable isotopes using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometric (IRMS) techniques which can be measured stable isotopes of Carbon ( C), Hydrogen ( H), Oxygen ( O) and Sulfur (S) in liquid and solid samples.
Fig 08: IR-MS instrument
Fig 08: GC component of IR-MS instrument
Inductive Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS) laboratory.
Fig. 09: ICP-MS instrument
The LSD Division has established the ICPMS instrument (Agilent 7800) to analyze the trace and heavy metal elements in the various sample metrics, The ICPMS technique is facilitating to measure multi elemental concentrations in parts per billion (ppb) levels in different sample types such as water, soil/sediments, and plant materials.