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Gamma spectroscopy for environmental radiation measurements. L.Visca 1,2 , R. Cirio 1,2 , A. Solano 1,2. Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Fisica Sperimentale INFN, Sezione di Torino. Summary. Overview about natural background radiation

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gamma spectroscopy for environmental radiation measurements

Gamma spectroscopy for environmental radiation measurements

L.Visca 1,2, R. Cirio1,2, A. Solano1,2

  • Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Dipartimento di Fisica Sperimentale
  • INFN, Sezione di Torino

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

summary
Summary
  • Overview about natural background radiation
  • Description of a portable scintillation detector system NaI(Tl)
  • Calibration of a scintillation detection system
  • Analysis of gamma spectra from different samples
  • Activity assessment from measured spectra

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

natural radiation exposures
Natural radiation exposures

All living organisms are continually exposed to ionizing radiation, which has always existed naturally.

The sources of that exposure are cosmic rays that come from outer space and from the surface of the Sun, terrestrial radionuclides that occur in the Earth’s crust, in building materials and in air, water and foods and in the human body itself.

Some of the exposures are fairly constant and uniform for all individuals everywhere, for example, the dose from ingestion of potassium-40 in foods.

Other exposures vary widely depending on location.

Exposures can also vary as a result of human activities for example building materials of houses and the design and ventilation systems strongly influence indoor levels of the radioactive gas radon and its decay products, which contribute significantly to doses through inhalation.

From the Report of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation to the General Assembly (2000)

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

gamma rays from terrestrial sources
Gamma rays from terrestrial sources

Naturally occurring radionuclides of terrestrial origin are present in all media in the environment, including the human body itself. Irradiation of the human body from external sources is mainly by gamma radiation from radionuclides in the 238U and 232Th series and from 40K. Indoor exposure to gamma rays, mainly determined by the materials of construction, is inherently greater than outdoor exposure in earth materials have been used; the source geometry changes from half-space to a more surrounding configuration indoors. When the duration of occupancy is taken into account, indoor exposure becomes even more significant.

From Annex B of UNSCEAR Report 2000

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

slide5

Instruments and methods

Scintibloc is a scintillator cristal NaI[Tl] directly coupled to PhotoMultiplierTube (PMT).

NanoSPEC is a NaI(Tl) detector base. It includes HV module, spectroscopic amplifier and MultiChannelAnalyser (MCA). It can be connect to a PC using a serial interface

winTMCA32 is the software required to set-up the detector and acquire the gamma ray spectrum from the samples.

slide6

Instruments and methods

GammaVision (GV) is the software used for the analysis.

NuclideNavigator is the software used to edit your nuclide database.

slide7

WinTMCA32: Initialization

Before starting the set-up, set the switch of the NanoSpec to: Int

  • Select the acquisition mode (Acquisition_Mode) on: PHA (pulse height analysis). In this way every value is assigned to one channel and the channel content is incremented by one if a corresponding signal is counted.
  • Define the Spectrum length (Spectrum_Length): this command changes the number of channels and sub spectra of the actual spectrum. You can select values from the list in the LENGTH field of the input (i.e. 1024, 2048, 4096…) or enter an optimal value (in our case, 2048).
  • Setup the hardware (Hardware_Setup) :
    • High Voltage: type the desired voltage value (in our case450 V; WARNING: do not exceed 500 V) in the text field, then confirm the input by pressing the ENTER button.
    • ULD…:
      • ULD (upper level discriminator): defines the upper level of the signal acquisition. The settings 0 to 255 don’t belong to a channel directly, but 0 relates to the lowest channel and 255 to the top channel. (set ULD to 255)

San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

slide8

WinTMCA32: Initialization

  • LLD (lower level discriminator): discriminates the lowest level of signal acquisition. The settings 0 to 255 are not directly related to to the channels. In order not to discriminate a channel, Set LLD to 0.
  • Conversion Gain: defines the number of channels for spectra acquisition, thus the relation of channels and voltage. The value varies from 0 to 255. Set Conv. Gain to 0 (this corresponds to a spectrum with 2048 channels).
  • Noise: defines which of the signals registered are events and which are noise. Only events which give a higher voltage value than the noise value will be registered. In principle Noise works like LLD but events beyond the Noise-level are not considered for the dead time and base line calculations. Set Noise to 0.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

slide9

WinTMCA32: Initialization

  • Gain: Sets up the coarse gain for the acquisition hardware. Set the coarse gain to 20

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

wintmca32 spectrum acquisition
WinTMCA32: Spectrum acquisition

Select window

Real timeStatus: STP =acquisition is stopped

ACQ=acquisition is active

Starts spectrum acquisition

Stops spectrum acquisition

Erases the actual spectrum

Defines spectrum length (2048)

Opens the hardware setup menu

Integrates the marked area within the actual spectrum

Opens a dialog to select spectra files

Save the spectrum

Show the preset menu

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

energy calibration
Energy calibration

Ask the tutor how to convert winTCA file to GammaVision file.

The energy calibration of a spectrum has to be realized with calibration sources.

As example we could used a Marinelli calibration source, containing a mixture of nuclides.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

energy calibration procedure
Energy calibration procedure
  • Select from GV main menu ROI mark.
  • Define the ROI using the marker.
  • With the marker inside the ROI, use the Peak Info button, to determine the Centroid of the peak.
  • Select Calibrate, Energy calibration and insert the energy of the calibration radionuclide.
  • Repeat the procedure for all the available peaks.
  • Remember to save your calibration Calibrate  Save calibration.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

efficiency calibration
Efficiency calibration

The efficiency calibration of NaI detector has to be realized with calibration sources.

As example we could used the Marinelli calibration source constituted by radionuclidic mixture.

  • With the marker in your ROI Select Calibrate, Efficency calibration
  • You can use GV to calculate the efficency from your source data.
  • Repeat the procedure for all the available peaks.
  • Chose the knee and quadratic interpolation mode above the knee.
  • Remember to save your calibration Calibrate  Save calibration.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

sample analysis
Sample analysis
  • Acquire the spectrum from your sample using the same set up used for the calibration.
  • Open the GV spectrum.
  • Load the energy calibration.
  • Define the relevant ROIs.
  • For each ROI collect centroid and FWHM using the Peak Info button.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

sample analysis15
Sample analysis
  • Nuclide search:
  • Load Nuclide Navigator
  • Open the Master Lybrary (File Open source library  master)
  • Use the search command to search by photopeak energy the nuclide (half life and secondary peak emission can help you !)

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

sample analysis16
Sample analysis
  • Edit your nuclide database:
  • Nuclide Navigator Select target library  choose a name for your library in gammavision format
  • Using the Library manager view edit your libraryusing drag and drop for the radionuclide you’ve found in your spectrum.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

sample analysis17
Sample analysis

Load your library in your Gamma Vision analysis:

Library  Select File  Your Library

The peak info window shows the activity [Bq]calculated from the net count rate, the efficiencycalibration and the branching ratio of the nuclides listed in your library.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010

conclusions
Conclusions

Give a brief report of your experiment comparing the activity form your sample with the ones of a background spectrum.

In which way you can assess the gamma absorbed dose rate?

The mass of the detector is 0.378 kg.

XI ICFA School San Carlos de Bariloche 11-22 January 2010