Since the first mass spectrometer was invented about a century ago, mass spectrometry has been expanding its scope in various fields of science, from fundamental science to medical & pharmaceutical development, bio-metabolite science, and the food industry. The remarkable development and progress in mass spectrometry, together with its high resolution and sensitivity, have resulted profound insights in science and technology. One beneficiary of advanced mass spectrometry is the nuclear science field. Nuclear science has developed remarkably over the last few decades.
The truth is that these developments would not have been possible without mass spectrometry. For example, LA-ICP/MS has provided information on the local burnup of irradiated nuclear fuels. This has played a key role in strengthening our understanding of nuclear fuels, and is the basis for the development of next-generation nuclear fuels. Accurate elemental analysis of nuclear materials by ICP/MS, TIMS, and SIMS is a prerequisite for numerous R&D studies of high-performance materials for nuclear reactors. Recently, state-of-the-art mass spectrometric techniques with high accuracy, precision, and sensitivity have been used in the analysis of nuclear elements contained in environmental samples at ultra-trace levels, helping to reinforce nuclear security and safeguards for a better and safer world.
Just as no one could have predicted the important contribution that mass spectrometry would make to the nuclear science field 100 years ago, today no one can predict how wide the applications of mass spectrometry will be in the future. All we can do is devote ourselves to conducting science with mass spectrometry and enjoy its benefits.
Jong-Ho Park, Ph.D. Associate Editor Nuclear Chemistry Research Division Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute Daejeon, Korea
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