The Ede Hertelendi Laboratory of Environmental Studies (HEKAL) is a laboratory jointly operated by ISOTOPTECH Zrt. and the Institute for Nuclear Research (ATOMKI), which has become a leading and continuously developing isotope and elemental analytical centre in the course of more than 15 years of cooperation. The laboratory is consciously developing R&D-based sampling and measurement methods, instruments, analytical procedures and services. One of the declared aims of our cooperation is to put scientific results into practice and to transfer state-of-the-art scientific results available in research institutes and universities to economic operators.
With its instrument park, unique in Central and Eastern Europe, and more than ten unique mass spectrometers, our laboratory provides a world-class research and service environment for Hungarian and international environmental, hydrological, geological, geochemical, archaeological, nuclear power and radioactive waste management communities.
HEKAL's analytical instrumentation can be used to determine the isotopic ratios of many elements, as well as to precisely quantify rare isotopes that are difficult to detect. Three stable isotope ratio mass spectrometers are used to determine the isotope ratios of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur for a wide range of materials (e.g., water, air, rocks, bone, tooth, plant material, etc.), while the most sensitive one is used to measure the clumped isotope ratios of carbonates. The isotopic ratios of water, methane and carbon-dioxide are measured using special laser spectrometers. The laboratory's five noble gas mass spectrometers also have a wide range of applications. The determination of helium, argon and other noble gas isotopes, whether dissolved in water, encapsulated in minerals or resulting from the decay of tritium, is carried out with special noble gas mass spectrometers. One of the main instruments in the laboratory is the Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS), which allows the measurement of carbon isotopes, including radiocarbon, and has applications ranging from archaeological dating to monitoring of environmental releases from radioactive installations. In Hungary, the multicollector ICP-MS is also a unique, niche instrument which is used for the extremely precise determination of isotopic ratios of a wide range of elements (Li, Mg, Ca, Fe, Cu, Sr, Hf, Pb, Th, U, etc.).
Alpha spectrometers, gamma spectrometers and liquid scintillation counters are used for the detection of difficult-to-measure radioisotopes involved in nuclear environmental tasks. The analysis of tens of thousands of samples per year is made possible by the integrated work of several preparatory laboratories, such as a chemical, radiochemical and a cleanroom laboratory.
Through its extensive international contacts, HEKAL is involved in the analysis of samples from all over the world (41 countries), providing a background for industrial, undergraduate and PhD training activities. The laboratory has become part of the European research infrastructure through its membership of EUROPLANET and ICOS ERIC. Several of our developments have reached the prototype level of technological maturity demonstrated in a real operational environment (TRL7). We continuously strive to cover the entire innovation chain with involvement of our partners, supported by our own electronics and mechanical workshop background. The main objective of HEKAL is to become a gap-filling R&D&I centre in Hungary, meeting the needs of society, environmental and economic actors, and to become an outstanding R&D&I centre at EU level.
TYPE OF THE RI
Isotoptech Nuclear and Technology Services Ltd.
Fully operational, 1998 –