Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Michael Vineyard


PFAS, quantitative, PIGE


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that have become a major environmental concern. They can be found in a broad range of everyday products and pose a significant risk to the public due to their adverse health effects. They are persistent, bioaccumulate and do not break down in the environment. This project specifically aims to determine the concentration of Fluorine, a key identifier of PFAS, in environmental samples. To do this, we employ proton induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) to screen for Fluorine within our samples. PIGE is performed at the Union College Ion Beam Analysis Laboratory using a 1.1-MV tandem Pelletron accelerator. Samples are bombarded in an ex-vacuo setup with an incident energy of 1.8 MeV and emitted gamma-rays are detected with a high-purity Ge detector. This research defines two quantitative methods for PIGE analysis. The first uses standards of known concentrations to compare to collected samples. The second uses a developed python application to directly compute concentration values based on nuclear theory. We present preliminary results on the accuracy of both methods.