Mass spectrometry analysis of etch products from CR-39 plastic irradiated by heavy ions

S. Kodaira*, D. Nanjo, H. Kawashima, N. Yasuda, T. Konishi, M. Kurano, H. Kitamura, Y. Uchihori, S. Naka, S. Ota, Y. Ideguchi, Nobuyuki Hasebe, Y. Mori, T. Yamauchi

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    As a feasibility study, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) have been applied to analyze etch products of CR-39 plastic (one of the most frequently used solid states nuclear track detector) for the understanding of track formation and etching mechanisms by heavy ion irradiation. The etch products of irradiated CR-39 dissolved in sodium hydroxide solution (NaOH) contain radiation-induced fragments. For the GC-MS analysis, we found peaks of diethylene glycol (DEG) and a small but a definitive peak of ethylene glycol (EG) in the etch products from CR-39 irradiated by 60 MeV N ion beams. The etch products of unirradiated CR-39 showed a clear peak of DEG, but no other significant peaks were found. DEG is known to be released from the CR-39 molecule as a fragment by alkaline hydrolysis reaction of the polymer. We postulate that EG was formed as a result of the breaking of the ether bond (C-O-C) of the DEG part of the CR-39 polymer by the irradiation. The mass distribution of polyallylalcohol was obtained from the etch products from irradiated and unirradiated CR-39 samples by MALDI-MS analysis. Polyallylalcohol, with the repeating mass interval of m/z = 58 Da (dalton) between m/z = 800 and 3500, was expected to be produced from CR-39 by alkaline hydrolysis. We used IAA as a matrix to assist the ionization of organic analyte in MALDI-MS analysis and found that peaks from IAA covered mass spectrum in the lower m/z region making difficult to identify CR-39 fragment peaks which were also be seen in the same region. The mass spectrometry analysis using GC-MS and MALDI-MS will be powerful tools to investigate the radiation-induced polymeric fragments and helping to understand the track formation mechanism in CR-39 by heavy ions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-232
    Number of pages4
    JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept 1


    • CR-39
    • Etch product
    • Latent track
    • Mass spectrometry
    • Solid state nuclear track detector

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Instrumentation
    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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