Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Michael Vineyard




beam, figure, ray, concentrations


Proton-induced X-ray emission spectroscopy (PIXE) has been performed on aerosol, soil, artificial turf, and running track samples using the 1.1-MV tandem Pelletron accelerator in the Union College Ion Beam Analysis Laboratory. PIXE analysis of the aerosol and soil samples was performed with 2.2-MeV proton beams. X-ray energy spectra were measured with a silicon drift detector and analyzed with GUPIX software to determine the elemental concentrations in the aerosol and soil samples. Of particular interest are the concentrations of airborne pollutants, such as sulfur that can contribute to acid rain and the acidification of Adirondack lakes such as Piseco Lake. PIXE analysis was also performed on artificial turf and running track samples in order to determine the possible concentrations of lead in these samples. Significant concentrations of sulfur were present in small particle sizes in the aerosol samples, which indicate that the sulfur can travel great distances and may have originated as far away as the Midwest. Trace amounts of lead were present in the artificial turf, perhaps justifying recent concerns about the safety of artificial turf.

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