The Compton continuum: Nuisance or new information in NAA?

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The Compton continuum in large sample neutron activation analysis has a measurable contribution from scattering of gamma-rays in the sample itself besides from scattering in the detector. The continuum, therefore, contains information on the sample's composition, which may be made available by chemometrics. This hypothesis was tested on four types of animal fodder with similar amounts of mineral supplements. First results indicate indisputable discrimination of the sample types if using peakless parts of the gamma-ray spectra of the natural radioactivity of the materials as well as of those obtained after neutron activation of 1 kg samples. It indicates that the valuable information on differences in, e.g., organic constituents may be obtained by analyzing the Compton continuum.

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