Elemental analysis of materials is fundamentally important to science and technology. Many elemental analysis methods have been developed, but three-dimensional nondestructive elemental analysis of bulk materials has remained elusive. Recently, our project team, dreamX (damageless and regioselective elemental analysis with muonic X-rays), developed a nondestructive depth-profiling elemental analysis method after a decade of research. This new method utilizes a new type of probe; a negative muon particle and high-energy muonic X-rays emitted after the muon stops in a material. We performed elemental depth profiling on an old Japanese gold coin (Tempo-Koban) using a low-momentum negative muon beam and successfully determined that the Au concentration in the coin gradually decreased with depth over a micrometer length scale. We believe that this method will be a promising tool for the elemental analysis of valuable samples, such as archeological artifacts.
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