Event Title

Gamma Spectroscopy Analysis Of An Unknown Photopeak

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

Start Date

13-2-2016 8:00 AM

End Date

13-2-2016 12:30 PM

Description

During gamma spectroscopy experiments conducted using a NaI scintillator detector an unknown peak was noticed in the background spectrum when no radioactive sources were present. This peak could potentially affect further experiments using the gamma spectroscopy detection system if the peak is either an error in the detection system or an unknown radiological source. An investigation was conducted to examine this unknown peak by establishing multiple background spectra with a calibration process using known radiological sources to determine the energy of the observed peak. Shielding experiments were also used in an attempt to determine if the source of the peak was something within the detector or being caused by an isotope in the surrounding environment. This investigation showed that the unknown peak was being produced outside of the detection system. Through research of known isotopes in the vicinity of the energy observed for the unknown peak it was shown that there is a high probability that Potassium-40 is the source of the peak. Further experiments were conducted using known Potassium sources; concentrated potassium in pill form showed a distinct increase in the investigated peak, giving a high confidence that Potassium-40 is the source of the unknown peak.

Comments

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Gail Dodge

Physics

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Feb 13th, 8:00 AM Feb 13th, 12:30 PM

Gamma Spectroscopy Analysis Of An Unknown Photopeak

Learning Commons @ Perry Library, Northwest Atrium

During gamma spectroscopy experiments conducted using a NaI scintillator detector an unknown peak was noticed in the background spectrum when no radioactive sources were present. This peak could potentially affect further experiments using the gamma spectroscopy detection system if the peak is either an error in the detection system or an unknown radiological source. An investigation was conducted to examine this unknown peak by establishing multiple background spectra with a calibration process using known radiological sources to determine the energy of the observed peak. Shielding experiments were also used in an attempt to determine if the source of the peak was something within the detector or being caused by an isotope in the surrounding environment. This investigation showed that the unknown peak was being produced outside of the detection system. Through research of known isotopes in the vicinity of the energy observed for the unknown peak it was shown that there is a high probability that Potassium-40 is the source of the peak. Further experiments were conducted using known Potassium sources; concentrated potassium in pill form showed a distinct increase in the investigated peak, giving a high confidence that Potassium-40 is the source of the unknown peak.