Californium-252 Solutions for the Research Industry

Californium-252 is a neutron-emitting isotope frequently used to detect trace elements within a specific sample. Cf-252 is commonly used in the energy industry to start up nuclear power reactors. Researchers also use californium-252 to develop advancements in various governmental, academic, and medical fields.

Learn more about how californium-252 can be used for research across multiple industries.

Prompt-Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis

Prompt-gamma neutron activation analysis (PGNAA) is a non-destructive technique that uses Cf-252 to analyze the presence and quantities of certain elements in small to large sample sizes. Based on the levels of certain substances or elements positively correlated with them, researchers can determine the composition of a specific surface area or the likely composition of a larger area.

How Californium-252 Can Be Used in Research


A microgram of californium-252 can spontaneously emit up to 170 million neutrons each minute, which makes it a powerful tool to conduct research. Cf-252’s interactions with a sample can give researchers an in-depth analysis of elements within the specimen. Californium-252 is commonly used in these research applications:

  • Academic, public, and private research: The isotope is effective for material identification and analysis of the physical and chemical properties of different compounds.
  • Military: Cf-252 is a neutron source in portable isotopic neutron spectroscopy (PINS), which allows military personnel to determine if sealed containers have dangerous or explosive materials inside without having to open them.
  • Oil and gas: Cf-252 sources can be used in borehole logging to analyze geographical properties underground. The results of these sophisticated detection equipment allow energy researchers to set expectations regarding the likely value of a site. These estimates give organizations more accurate insight into which sites are best and how to process them optimally.

The benefits of choosing to conduct research with californium-252 include:

  • Accuracy: Californium-252’s high emission rate can analyze particles with great precision and accuracy.
  • Safety: While californium-252 can be dangerous when handled improperly, Frontier Technology Corporation creates single- and double-encapsulated sources for Cf-252 and ships them in Type-A containers. With these safety measures, californium-252 becomes much safer to use for research.
  • Convenience: Our encapsulation processes and containers make this isotope convenient to store, transport, use and return.
  • Speed: PGNAA, PINS, and other tests using Cf-252 provide real-time results that researchers can instantly analyze for a fast turnaround on their application.

Choose FTC for Your Research Needs

Californium-252 allows researchers to conduct PGNAA, PINS, and other assessments in a variety of contexts. If your research project requires you to know the composition of a particular worksite or sample, this isotope can help your team determine that composition in real time. Contact us to learn more about californium-252, our industry-specific capabilities, and how we encase Cf-252 for safe transportation and use. If you’re ready to get started, request a quote today.