Revista mexicana de física
versão impressa ISSN 0035-001X
The particle induced X-ray emission technique (PIXE), developed by Johansson and colleagues in Lund, Sweden, in the 70's has been used since then in a high number of studies requiring detection and quantification of trace elements at high sensitivity (better than 1 mg/kg). PIXE is grouped among the nuclear analytical techniques because the samples are bombarded with particles (protons generally) accelerated in an accelerator. When protons interact with matter an X-Ray spectrum is produced by the de excitation of atoms in the sample. From this spectrum the elements contained in the sample as well as their concentrations can be determined. In this work we describe the PIXE technique and several applications in the environmental field developed at the Institute of Physics of the National Autonomous University of México (IFUNAM). These practical applications include field studies for analyses of suspended particles in air using tree leaves, irrigation water quality based on heavy metal analyses, and analyses of trace elements in plants cultivated in waste water irrigated soil.
Palavras-chave : Trace elements; PIXE; biomonitors; heavy metal pollution; México.