Prompt-Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA)

PNGAA is a non-destructive, non-contact method of material analysis. Prior to extraction, PGNAA can be used to detect the presence of gas, oil, sand, and shale deposits within a given site. It is also used to continuously monitor the composition of material in real-time as it is extracted and transported on a conveyor belt. 

In a PGNAA system, the material in question is bombarded with neutrons from a Cf-252 neutron source. This in turn causes the constituent elements in the material to produce gamma rays, which are evaluated to determine the chemical makeup of the material.

Because it spontaneously emits neutrons, Cf-252 enables quick on-site analysis of full cross-sections of samples. It also has a high melting point (~900° C), so it can be used in high-heat environments.

Download Our Guide to PGNAA

Download Our Guide to PGNAA

Our guide offers a comprehensive overview of the PGNAA process, including what it is, how it works, what advantages it offers, how and where it is used, and the importance of Cf-252.

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PGNAA systems analyze raw material used for cement production on-site as it travels on the conveyor belt. This provides more accurate data than sampling alone, and is more efficient than transporting samples to a lab or other facility for analysis. With Cf-252 neutron sources and PGNAA, cement producers are able to determine the presence and concentration of elements like iron, silicon, chlorine, and calcium in real time in order to make data-driven decisions and enhance quality control. 


PGNAA is also a critical tool for verifying consistency of cement products, in order to ensure safety and durability in construction and other applications.

Coal, Cement, and Minerals


The Cf-252 neutron sources in PGNAA systems make it possible to identify the presence, absence, and concentration of elements like sulfur, silicon, aluminum, iron, sodium, and others in raw materials. This allows for real-time decision making to meet product specifications and coal blending requirements.

Minerals and Metals

PGNAA systems use Cf-252 neutron sources to detect the presence and concentration of chlorine and hydrogen in iron and ore smelting. They are also used to detect copper, gold, silver, and other metals and elements at mining sites. Data obtained with PGNAA systems are critical to the process of blending the feed of raw materials during milling.



Cf-252 is used in the calibration of PGNAA equipment. Before it can be used in the field a PGNAA system must be factory calibrated with representative samples of material typically encountered onsite. Static samples with a range of known compositions are used to verify the accuracy of the system. Post-installation validation and fine tuning on site are also part of the calibration process.

Frontier is a leading global supplier of Cf-252 neutron sources for PGNAA systems, neutron shielding, and other nuclear solutions. Please contact us to learn more or to request a free quote.