Nuclear Seminar: Development of SLIMER, the Scintillator-Layered Imaging Microscope for Environmental Research
The Scintillator-Layered Imaging Microscope for Environmental Research (SLIMER) is a tool under development by researchers at Los Alamos National Lab and Tennessee Tech University to measure uptake of specific isotopes in biological systems. SLIMER incorporates a microcolumnar scintillator in a fluorescent microscope in order to study microbial systems exposed to 32P, 33P, or 14C. For this purpose, SLIMER needs to have excellent position resolution and light collection. If SLIMER can pinpoint the area of the slide where the radioactive decay event occurs, this would indicate the area in which a microbe has absorbed the isotope. The microbes in that area of the slide can then be identified using DNA analysis. In order to study and refine the capabilities of SLIMER, a simulation was developed with C++ and GEANT4. The GEANT4 packages for radiation and scintillation were used to provide a realistic model of radioactive decay and scintillator activity. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, the physical setup of the experiment was tested and refined, and data was collected. Data analysis is still ongoing. Further objectives include improvement of the position resolution; identification of a minimum detectable activity; and developing a calibration consistent for all sources. Possible applications of SLIMER will also be discussed.