Gamma Spectroscopy

What is Gamma Spectroscopy?

Gamma Spectroscopy is the study of the energy spectra detected from the gamma ray emissions of radioactive materials. When many radioactive materials undergo nuclear decay, they emit a secondary high energy photon, called a gamma ray. This gamma ray (not really a ray at all, but a single photon particle) is detected using a gamma ray detector. The energy from each detected gamma can be sorted into a spectrum by energy using a Multi Channel Spectrum Analyzer. When a gamma detector and Multi Channel Spectrum Analyzer are combined, you have what is known as a Gamma Spectrometer. Most gamma spectra are presented as an x/y graph, where the x axis (horizontal range) represents the energies in either keV (kilo electron Volts) or MeV (Mega electron Volts), normally flowing from low to high, left to right. The y axis (vertical range) represents the counts of the number of detected gammas for each energy range. The spectrum is divided into a set count of channels, each representing a step in energy. Common channel counts are 256, 512, 1024, 2048, and 4096. Common energy ranges are 10 keV to 3,500 keV.

 

 

Gamma Spectroscopy Resources

Gamma Spectroscopy Books
Practical Gamma-Ray Spectrometry SE One of the best gamma spectroscopy books ever written!

 

Radioactive Material for Testing
Spectrum Techniques Radio-Nuclides A must! No license needed for these in the USA!
Mineralogical Research Co. The most beautiful museum quality samples
United Nuclear Uranium Samples! United Nuclear is a good source for basic uranium samples for testing

 

Equipment
Spectrum Techniques UCS30 Spectrometer Set This is my primary unit. Extremely good quality
The Gamma Spectacular Spectrometer Low cost, high quality! Need I say more?
Geiger Counters.com Where I buy my Geiger counters
Polimaster Inc. Portable and self calibrating
RAP CsI(Tl) Probes I use the RAP47 for my x-ray spectroscopy. Good quality!
Ludlum Detectors Very rugged detectors.

 

Energy Lists
www.radiochemistry.org Nice big list of energies and spectra
NuDat 2.6 Mega list of all nuclides!
The Lund/LBNL Nuclear Data Search Massive list of energies

 
 
 

Sample Spectra
Natural Uranium

Natural Uranium

Am241 + Np237

Am241 + Np237

Co60

Co60 - (using NaI(Tl) detector)

Co60

Co60 - (using CsI(Tl) detector)

Cs137

Cs137

Eu152

Eu152 10 keV to 2043 keV

Eu152 6 keV to 290 keV

Eu152 6 keV to 290 keV

Autunite Uranium

Autunite Uranium

K40

K40

Monazite CE

Monazite CE

Po210

Po210

 


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