Category Archives: Basics

Generally basic explanations of the world.

Lasers! Lasers! Lasers!

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Lets learn about lasers!

Key Terms:
Lasing Medium / Gain Medium – The material which forms the laser light.
Pump – The energy source needed to induce the population inversion.
Population Inversion – The act of causing the electrons in the lasing medium to jump to higher energy states.
Meta-Stable – A short period of stability.
Stimulated Emission – When an electron drops to a ground state and emits a photon as a result of another photon passing by it. Both photons are coherent.
Spontaneous Emission – When an electron drops to a ground state and emits a photon after a short time in a meta stable state.

The lasers in the video are DPSS Lasers (Diode Pumped Solid State)

An Infrared Aluminum Gallium Arsenide diode laser emits 808nm photons. These pump a Neodymium-Doped Yttrium Orthovanadate or Neodymium-Doped YAG crystal which emits 1064nm laser light. This light is Freq doubled using Potassium Titanyl Phosphate crystal to become 532nm, a beautiful green color


Basic Isotope Identification!!! – Gamma Spectroscopy 101 – Full Lesson

Filed under Basics, Radiation, Science
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Where to buy isotopes:

Where to find lists of gamma energies:

Where to get a detector

Where to get an MCA

Where to get uranium!!! (how could you live without it?)

Equations (simplified for quick and dirty use!!!)

  2 * (E keV)^2
___________________ = Compton Edge
  511 keV + 2(E keV)

                  2 * (E keV)^2
E keV – ________________ = Back Scatter peak
                  511 keV + 2(E keV)

(Tom’s opinion)
Best source for calibration: Cs137
Best detecttor type: NaI(Tl) 1″ or greater!
Best free MCA software: PRA 8

Tom’s Isotope Tables!!!

Nuclear Alchemy – Published!

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My article on the creation of Phosphorus 30 and Silicon 30 from Aluminum 27, using alpha particles from Polonium 210, was recently published in Microbe Hunter Magazine! Please click the link below to visit the Microbe Hunter website and read the article or ask any questions, should you have them!

Nuclear Alchemy

Nuclear Alchemy

The Full Magazine! Page 4 For My Article

Polonium 210 at 100x Magnification

Polonium 210 at 100x Magnification

Alpha Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Two

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Alpha radiation was first detected in the late 19th century by Ernest Rutherford. Alpha radiation is the release of two protons and two neutrons with many millions of electron volts of kinetic energy! Alpha radiation is very positivity charged and cannot readily move more than a few centimeters from a source before tuning into normal helium. As a result, alpha radiation is only dangerous when inhaled, ingested, or otherwise allowed into the body.

Three more videos are coming!
Beta Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Three
Gamma and X-Ray Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Four
Radiation Math, Geiger Counters 101 Part Five

Important Websites:

Radioactive Units – Do Not Use Them Incorrectly!

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Geiger counters count ionizing radiation events.

To measure a detected reading, the energy of the detected radiation must be known. If the detected radiation has an unknown energy, there can be no measure, but merely the detection.

Examples of different energies from common isotopes released by Fukushima (approx):
Cs137 — 0.5 MeV beta
Cs137 — 1.1 MeV beta
Cs137 –Ba137m — 0.6 MeV gamma (often used to calibrate GM’s)
Sr90 — 0.5 MeV beta + weak gamma
I131 — 333 KeV beta
I131 — 606 KeV beta
U238 — 4MeV alpha

As you can see, the energies very quit allot and cannot be assumed.

Here are some energy dependent units:
1 Gray = 1 joule / 1kg
1 Seivert = 1Gy x RadiationFactor x BodyPartFactor
1 RAD = 0.01 joule / 1kg
1 REM = 1 Rad x RadiationFactor
1 Roentgen = = 2.58×10^-4 Coulomb / 1kg

As you can see… each of these units uses a degree of energy. You do not know the energy unless you know the exact nature of your source. As a result, you cannot use them.

In short: If and only if you know the exact energy of your source and a specific calibration and calibrated geometry, you cannot accurately use any energy dependent unit. All such unit measures are meaningless in these cases.

Use Counts Per Minute (CPM) or Counts Per Second (CPS)

Have fun!