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Scientists Gather To Weigh Analytical Methods


Sixty scientists from 15 countries are in Wellington this week to discuss new developments and applications in accelerator-based analytical techniques in the biomedical and environmental sciences.

The four-day event has brought together research organisations, universities, and government organisations from all over the world to discuss novel ways of dealing with problems in areas such as environmental pollution, agriculture, fish migration, and biomedical research.

Called BioPIXE5, it is being held at Te Papa and will include a Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) workshop on Wednesday which will be attended by regional councils and overseas organisations.

Like many other countries, New Zealand is moving to adopt standards for the level of particulate matter in the atmosphere and councils are responsible for air pollution monitoring. At the workshop, participants will be introduced to the sampling and characterisation techniques available in New Zealand to effectively monitor air pollution.

The 5th international BioPIXE symposium, held every third year, is being organised and hosted by Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd (GNS). It is the first time it has been held in New Zealand. Principal organisers are Dr Andreas Markwitz and Dr John Kennedy of GNS. BioPIXE stands for Biological Particle Induced X-ray Emission.

* PIXE involves using an accelerator to aim a beam of high-energy particles at a sample. The resultant x-rays are measured to determine the elemental makeup of the sample. Up to 30 elements in a sample can be measured simultaneously. Advantages of PIXE are that it is quick, non-destructive, non-invasive, and can provide accurate analysis of small samples.


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