Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 318 (2018), pp 271–277.

doi 0.1007/s10967-018-6062-3


Copyright © 2018 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary; published by Springer. Used by permission.


The prompt gamma activation analysis (PGAA) facility at the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin was utilized to quantify boron concentrations in boron carbide semiconductor films deposited on silicon substrates. Calibration was complicated by the unique and varying sample geometries analyzed. In addition, there was a dearth of solid materials available with quantified boron concentrations having comparable or readily modifiable dimensions to exploit for calibration purposes. Therefore, a novel hybrid comparator method was developed for the quantification of boron utilizing aluminum as an inexpensive and easily machinable reference material. Aluminum samples were manufactured with high tolerances to match the geometry of each sample of interest. Each boron carbide film sample and its congruent aluminum sample were measured in the PGAA system. The measured aluminum responses and relevant nuclear parameters were used to standardize the measurements. A boron standard was created using a procedure derived from a similar approach used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Quality control measurements using this standard show that the method provided accuracy to within 5% for boron quantification.