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Mössbauer Spectroscopy - Brightening the Nano-World

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Mössbauer Spectroscopy - Brightening the Nano-World

- MOA signed between KAERI and Kookmin University for research cooperation -

- Expected to be applied to cultural heritage conservation and catalyst development for hydrogen energy -

Among the currently available research instruments, Mössbauer spectroscopy is an analytical technology that allows measurements of the weakest level of energy, and is thus considered to be an important technology for the study of nano-scale materials.
* Mössbauer spectroscopy is based on the resonance of gamma rays, discovered by the German scientist Mössbauer in 1958. As the gamma rays emitted from a nucleus are absorbed into the homogeneous atomic nucleus of an analytical target, the absorbed gamma rays can be measured to investigate the compound state, crystal structure, and hyperfine field fluctuation of the target material.
* This analytical method can be applied to identify the compound state of iron, which is the color source in much of Korean cultural heritage, such as the pigment of paint used on wooden buildings and the glaze applied to traditional pottery. The method can also be applied to the on-site non-destructive inspections to measure how the quality of air with iron compounds and moisture can influence the stone-built cultural heritage.
* The analytical method can also be effectively applied to the analysis of catalysts for hydrogen energy. The combustion of hydrogen by combination with oxygen requires expensive metal-based catalysts such as platinum. Mössbauer spectroscopy has an excellent capability for analyzing catalytic reactions, and can contribute to the development of catalysts for replacing platinum. The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI; President Ha, Jae-ju) and Kookmin University (President Yu, Ji-su) has agreed on the implementation of joint research projects on the conservation of cultural heritage sites and a catalyst development for hydrogen energy based on Mössbauer spectroscopy, and concluded a MOA at Kookmin University on July 4.

This agreement will greatly contribute to the protection of national cultural heritage sites by analyzing their characteristics and developing conservation methods. In addition, it will lead to the diversification of energy sources by developing catalysts that are essential to the utilization of hydrogen energy. For these purposes, both institutions will cooperate and participate in international collaborative studies, joint utilization of research facilities and equipment, and the exchange of academic and technological information.

Since Korea's first research reactor, TRIGA Mark-, was introduced in 1962, KAERI has contributed to archeological research works and classifying ancient pottery producing area by applying the neutron activation analysis-based trace element quantitative analysis method. After the operation of HANARO in 1995, KAERI has conducted R&D to apply neutron activation analysis, neutron and proton imaging technologies as well as irradiation techniques to the conservation, restoration, and appraisal of cultural heritage sites.
* In May, KAERI signed a MOA with Kongju National University in the field of cultural heritage conservation and its analysis based on neutron analysis methods. KAERI will continuously strengthen the research cooperation for the resolution of pending social issues, such as the conservation of cultural heritage sites.

In-choel Lim, the head of the Radiation Science stated that "Conservation of national cultural heritage sites and the study of hydrogen energy based on basic R&D are representative research areas where we can contribute to the resolution of pending social issues and the development of future society." He also added that "Nuclear energy is very useful and crucial technology for the utilization of hydrogen energy."