CHME 472. Detection Techniques for Radionuclides and Volatile Organic Compounds


1. Course number and name

CHME 472. Detection Techniques for Radionuclides and Volatile Organic Compounds

2. Credits and contact hours

3 credit hours = 45 contact hours per semester

3. Instructor’s or course coordinator’s name

 Ila Pillalamarri and Praveen Srirama

4. Text book, title, author, and year


a. other supplemental materials

Handbook of Trace Analysis: Fundamentals and Applications
Irena Baranowska Editor
Copyright © Springer 2016
ISBN: 978-3-319-19613-8
(2nd Preference Text book)

Nuclear Analytical Methods in the Life Sciences
Rolf Zeisler Vincent P. Guinn
Copyright © Springer 2012
ISBN: 978-1-461-26777-5

Determination of Trace Elements
Zeev B. Alfassi
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 978-3-527-61576-6

* Methods for Environmental Trace Analysis 1st Edition
John Dean
Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
(Preferred Text book)
ISBN: 978-0-470-84422-9

Trace Elemental Analysis of Metals: Methods and Techniques
Thomas R. Dulski
Copyright © 1999 Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 978-0-824-71985-2

A Handbook of Silicate Rock Analysis
P. J. Potts
Copyright © 1987 Blackie
ISBN: 978-0-412-00881-8

Basic Gas Chromatography: Edition 2
Harold M. McNair James M. Miller
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 978-0-470-43954-8

GC / MS: A Practical User’s Guide 2nd Edition
Marvin McMaster
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Inc
ISBN: 978-0-470-10163-6

5. Specific course information

a. catalog description:  Basics of analytical techniques used to detect and quantify the presence of radionuclides, with focus on Lung and Whole-body Counting by Gamma –ray Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry techniques. Course also covers sampling techniques, chain-of-custody methods, and includes hands-on instrument experience at the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center (CEMRC). Course fee required for travel to CEMRC.

This course consists of three parts: 1) Introduction to basic concepts of analytical techniques for detection, measurement and monitoring of radionuclides and volatile organic compounds in environmental monitoring, 2) Lung and Whole-body Counting by Gamma –ray Spectrometry and analysis of internally deposited radionuclides, and 3) Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry analysis of volatile organic compounds

b. prerequisites: CHEM 111 or 115, PHYS 215 co-requisites: none

c. required, elective, or selected elective (as per Table 5-1): elective

6. Specific goals for the course

a. The student will be able..

1. write and explain the basic components of the analytical techniques;
2. understand how to apply an analytical technique for environmental monitoring; and
3. discuss environmental effects.

b. Criterion 3 Student Outcomes specifically addressed by this course are found in a mapping of outcomes against all CHME courses in the curriculum.

7. Brief list of topics to be covered

  • Part 1 –  Introduction to basic concepts of analytical techniques for environmental radionuclide monitoring
    • Terms and definitions in analytical chemistry
    • Units of measurement
    • Statistics
    • Detection limits
    • Sampling strategies – Inhomogeneity effects
    • Contamination effects
    • Chain of custody
    • Reporting analytical data
  • Part 2 – Lung and Whole-body Counting by Gamma –ray spectrometry and analysis of internally deposited radionuclides
    • Types of radiation
    • Radionuclides and radioactivity
    • Components of Gamma-ray Spectrometry
    • Lung and Whole Body Counting System
    • Calibration of energy and efficiency
    • Operation and principles
    • Reporting analytical data
    • Hands on experience
  • Part 3 – Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) technique for analysis of gases released from radioactive waste
    • Theory – basic principles
    • VOC generation
    • Sample Collection
    • Analytical Instrumentation – GC/MS
    • Analytical procedure
    • Application
    • Hands on experience

Common Syllabus Addendum

The NMSU Department of Chemical Engineering maintains a syllabus addendum containing course requirements common to all courses with the CH E prefix online.  This document is accessible from the URL: