An apparatus and method for detecting low levels of one or more radionuclides in a fluid sample uses a substrate that includes an ion exchange resin or other sorbent material to collect the radionuclides. A collecting apparatus includes a collecting chamber that exposes the substrate to a measured amount of the fluid sample such that radionuclides in the fluid sample are collected by the ion exchange resin. A drying apparatus, which can include a drying chamber, then dries the substrate. A measuring apparatus measures emissions from radionuclides collected on the substrate. The substrate is positioned in a measuring chamber proximate to a detector, which provides a signal in response to emissions from the radionuclides. Other analysis methods can be used to detect non-radioactive analytes, which can be collected with other types of sorbent materials.
This invention was made with Government support under Contracts No. DE-AC05-91OR21949 and No. DE-AR21-95MC32088, both awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.