Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LLNL Nuclear Counting Facility

POC: Phil Torretto (  +1 925-422-5515,

Located in the basement, two floors down from the ground surface and with a layer of low-background ferrous shielding materials between floors for ultra-low background nuclear measurements, the NCF has been providing high-sensitivity radiation measurements since the inception of radiochemical diagnostics in support of the U.S. Nuclear Test Program.

NCF assets include a wide range of low- and high resolution gamma spectrometers (some equipped with automated sample changers, various others work in standalone mode, and units that are portable/fieldable), and alpha- and beta counting systems employing ionization gas chambers, solid-state detectors, and liquid scintillation techniques. NCF supports applications in basic nuclear science, stockpile stewardship, NIF diagnostics, nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation, nuclear forensics and counterterrorism, consequence management and emergency response (the most recent high-visibility response was the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear crisis), and environmental monitoring.

The LLNL-developed GAMANAL software used to interpret high-resolution gamma spectra without the need for a fixed-geometry calibration, hence broadly expanding its application, is now in use globally and forms the basis of the analysis engines of several commercial software. Additionally, the NCF is supported by several low-level, high-resolution gamma detectors and liquid scintillation counters in the Environmental Radioanalytical Monitoring Laboratory (EMRL), a facility that primarily supports environmental and stack monitoring for LLNL's site performance metrics but also supports the national security mission.


Autoradiography Imaging

POC: Kim Knight (  +1 925-422-9396,

Sub-millimeter resolution alpha and beta radioactivity imaging


X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy

POC: Gary Eppich (  +1 925-422-5731,

Bulk elemental analysis with PPM level detection limits


Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)

POC: Rachel Lindvall (  +1 925-424-3505,
Josh Wimpenny (  +1 925-423-9263,

Bulk elemental analysis with sub-PPT level detection limits
Laser Ablation ICP-MS for in situ microanalysis



Multi-Collector ICP-MS (MC-ICP-MS)

POC: Ross Williams (  +1 925-423-8769,

Isotope ratio measurements on actinides, tungsten, lead, tellurium, zinc and others
Preparation and certification of reference materials


Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS)

POC: Lars Borg (  +1 925-424-5722,

Isotope ratio measurements on Pb, Sr, Nd and other REE


Stable Isotope Mass Spectrometry

POC: Mike Singleton (  +1 925-424-2022,

Isotopic measurements of H, C, N, O, S


Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry 

POC: Bill Cassata (  +1 925-423-2812,

Bulk and spot isotopic measurements of He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe


Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (NanoSIMS)

POC: Peter Weber (  +1 925-422-3018,

Sub-micron ion imaging for elemental and isotopic measurements


Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry (RIMS)

POC: Brett Isselhardt (  +1 925-424-3347,

In-situ high sensitivity isotopic quantification


Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and
Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS)

POC: Zurong Dai (  +1 925-424-6781,

Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), Electron Diffraction


X-ray Diffraction (XRD)

POC: Sarah Roberts (  +1 925-423-4112,

Crystallography of bulk solids