Title

Development of a Nuclear Lifetime Measurement Apparatus

Presenter Information

Brian Bianco
Deeanna Kilts

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 140

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Just how long does a nucleus stay in an excited nuclear state? The purpose of this project conducted at CWU was to construct an apparatus capable of measuring the time it takes for a 237Np nucleus in an excited nuclear energy level to decay to its ground level; that is to measure the lifetime for an excited nuclear state. We used a 241Am source which alpha (α) decays to 237Np by emitting α particles at 5.486 MeV. In the majority of these decays, the daughter 237Np nucleus is in an excited nuclear energy level of 59.54 keV before eventually undergoing gamma (γ) decay to the ground state. Using a silver-activated zinc sulfide (ZnS[Ag]) scintillation detector and a thallium-activated sodium iodide (NaI[Tl]) scintillation detector, along with a range of standard nuclear spectroscopy electronic equipment, we constructed an apparatus capable of measuring the time interval between 241Am–237Np α–γ coincidences from an 241Am source. A preliminary analysis suggests that the data gathered thus far is consistent with other published literature values for the lifetime of 237Np at the 59.54 keV excited state.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Michael Braunstein

Additional Mentoring Department

Physics

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May 16th, 12:40 PM May 16th, 1:00 PM

Development of a Nuclear Lifetime Measurement Apparatus

SURC 140

Just how long does a nucleus stay in an excited nuclear state? The purpose of this project conducted at CWU was to construct an apparatus capable of measuring the time it takes for a 237Np nucleus in an excited nuclear energy level to decay to its ground level; that is to measure the lifetime for an excited nuclear state. We used a 241Am source which alpha (α) decays to 237Np by emitting α particles at 5.486 MeV. In the majority of these decays, the daughter 237Np nucleus is in an excited nuclear energy level of 59.54 keV before eventually undergoing gamma (γ) decay to the ground state. Using a silver-activated zinc sulfide (ZnS[Ag]) scintillation detector and a thallium-activated sodium iodide (NaI[Tl]) scintillation detector, along with a range of standard nuclear spectroscopy electronic equipment, we constructed an apparatus capable of measuring the time interval between 241Am–237Np α–γ coincidences from an 241Am source. A preliminary analysis suggests that the data gathered thus far is consistent with other published literature values for the lifetime of 237Np at the 59.54 keV excited state.