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Seminar: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 3:30pm

Trace Elements In Matter Is What Actually Matters
Prof. Manfredo H. Tabacniks
Institute of Physics, University of Sao Paulo
2008 Yoram Kaufman GEST/UMBC-GSFC Research Fellow

In former times, materials were developed tuning their chemical composition to get the desired properties. Hence, material analysis was used to get the chemical composition in a broad sense. Though initially based on wet-chemistry processes, material analysis by physical methods turned into an ever-growing field. Ion Beam Analysis and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry are just two examples of a field in which the detection limits, and sample sizes are being extraordinarily reduced enabling nowadays the measurement of sub-ppb levels of any element of the whole periodic table in microscopic samples. The billionaire semiconductor industry is just one of the applications of modern ultra low detection analysis by physical (dry) methods. Trace elements in materials can be used to trace archaeological technologies. Trace elements in blood serum may be used in the future to trace diseases, eventually cancer. Trace elements in aerosols can indicate its origins and transport properties. In this new era, the question whether an element is or is not present in a sample has changed to what are the elemental concentration levels and how they correlate to the bio-physical-chemical processes involved.

Location: Physics Bldg., Room 401
Coffee: 3:15 p.m.