Rutherford backscattering of energetic particles can be used to determine the thickness of a coating of a low-Z material over a heavier substrate. Simulations indicate that 5 MeV alpha particles from an 241Am source can be used to measure the thickness of a Li coating on Mo tiles between 0.5 and 15 μm thick. Using a 0.1 mCi source, a thickness measurement can be accomplished in 2 h of counting. This technique could be used to measure any thin, low-Z material coating (up to 1 mg/cm2 thick) on a high-Z substrate, such as Be on W, B on Mo, or Li on Mo. By inserting a source and detector on a moveable probe, this technique could be used to provide an in situ measurement of the thickness of Li coating on NSTX-U Mo tiles. A test stand with an alpha source and an annular solid-state detector was used to investigate the measurable range of low-Z material thicknesses on Mo tiles.
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