Elemental concentration distribution in human fingernails ? A 3D study

15 Sep 2020

The verification of pathologies has normally been based on analysis of blood (serum and plasma), and physiological tissue. Recently, nails and in particular human fingernails have become an important medium for pathological studies, especially those of environmental origin. The analytical technique of PIXE has been used extensively in the analysis of industrial samples and human tissue specimens. The application of the analytical technique to nails has been mainly to bulk samples. In this study we use micro-PIXE and -RBS, as both complementary and supplementary, to determine the elemental concentra- tion distribution of human fingernails of individuals. We report on the 3D quantitative elemental concentration distributions (QECDs) of various elements that include C, N and O as major elements (10?20%), P, S, Cl, K and Ca as minor elements (1?10%) and Fe, Mn, Zn, Ti, Na, Mg, Cu, Ni, Cr, Rb, Br, Sr and Se as trace elements (less than 1%). For PIXE and RBS the specimens were bombarded with a 3 MeV proton beam. To ascertain any correlations in the quanti- tative elemental concentration distributions, a linear traverse analysis was performed across the width of the nail. Elemental distribution correlations were also obtained.