Measurement of Naturally Occurring Radionuclides with Several Detectors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Issue: Vol.7, No.4 - October 2008

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Article Type: Manuscript

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  1. Dr C Papastefanou
    Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Atomic and Nuclear Physics Laboratory

Measurement of naturally occurring radio-nuclides in fields (in-situ) or in Lab (in-vitro) is made by sodium iodide thallium activated, NaI(Tl) detectors and or solid state (semiconductor diode) Ge high purity detectors coaxial, planar or well type by using various spectroscopic systems linked with accumulation data processing units. For spectral analysis of gamma-ray photon peaks, various libraries with softwares have been developed and established and are available to the users. Those gamma-ray spectrometers are classified according to their resolution and the efficiency in detecting and measuring the radionuclide concentrations through the gamma-ray peaks of the gamma-ray photons emitted by the naturally occurring and or man-made produced radio-nuclides in various kinds of environmental samples.

This article is designed to remove the "black box" approach to gamma-ray spectroscopy results, i.e.,

Put the sample on the detector
Push the button
Read the printed report
Accept the results.

A solid basis is provided in the fundamentals of gamma-ray spectroscopy while focusing on the areas that permit the operator and or user to:

Prepare a representative sample
Optimize system parameters
Understand the effects of cascade summing,
interference peaks, geometry, and libraries parameters

Class exercises guide the student through the interpretation of results with consideration of peak fit, source term and process knowledge of the sample. Laboratory quality assurance, QA and good practices are also discussed. The users might be introduced to the concepts and benefits of modeled geometries and field (in-situ) or in Lab (invitro) measurements.

The article will review the interaction of radiation with matter to explain spectral features and their interpretation, including peak identification and energy determination, back-scattering peaks, single and double escaping peaks and proper use of control charts of radio-nuclides. It is designed to provide a practical introduction to gamma-ray spectroscopy for those new to the field of gamma-ray spectroscopy, but also provide practical applications to those who are currently performing gamma-ray spectroscopy. It is intended for anybody who will be doing routine and specialized gamma-ray spectroscopy, as well as quality assurance officers and data validators who may have a need to understand gamma-ray spectroscopy measurements.

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