Title

Assembly and Assessment of an Alpha Spectrometer

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Alpha spectroscopy is used to characterize and measure alpha particles emitted in the decay of certain radioactive isotopes. The purpose of this project was to assemble and assess the performance of an alpha spectrometer apparatus for the CWU Physics Department. This apparatus consisted of a vacuum pump system connected to an ORTEC Alpha Aria detector chamber containing a silicon surface barrier detector. The Alpha Aria chamber and detector connect to a computer using ORTEC MAESTRO software that operates the system and presents spectra of radioactive isotopes. For this project, we obtained two alpha particle sources, Americium-241 and Radium-226. The spectra observed for the Radium-226 source were consistent with its characteristic decay scheme; however, the spectra observed for the Americium-241 source were not. Further investigation suggested that the observed inconsistencies could be explained by the straggling effect due to the casing of the Americium-241 source.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Michael Braunstein

Department/Program

Physics

Additional Mentoring Department

https://cwu.studentopportunitycenter.com/2020/04/assembly-and-assessment-of-an-alpha-spectrometer/

Share

COinS
 
May 18th, 12:00 PM

Assembly and Assessment of an Alpha Spectrometer

Ellensburg

Alpha spectroscopy is used to characterize and measure alpha particles emitted in the decay of certain radioactive isotopes. The purpose of this project was to assemble and assess the performance of an alpha spectrometer apparatus for the CWU Physics Department. This apparatus consisted of a vacuum pump system connected to an ORTEC Alpha Aria detector chamber containing a silicon surface barrier detector. The Alpha Aria chamber and detector connect to a computer using ORTEC MAESTRO software that operates the system and presents spectra of radioactive isotopes. For this project, we obtained two alpha particle sources, Americium-241 and Radium-226. The spectra observed for the Radium-226 source were consistent with its characteristic decay scheme; however, the spectra observed for the Americium-241 source were not. Further investigation suggested that the observed inconsistencies could be explained by the straggling effect due to the casing of the Americium-241 source.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/97