Determining HPGe total detection efficiency using γ–γ coincidence
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Both the peak and total detection efficiencies are generally needed in order to calculate sample activity from a gamma spectroscopic measurement, except in the case of isotope specific calibration. This is particularly true when the sample is in close proximity to the detector and corrections for cascade summing effects are required to avoid significant inaccuracy in the result. These corrections use the total detection efficiency to correct for summing-in and summing-out events, and the extent of the correction depends on both the geometry and the gamma cascade for the isotope in question. Experimentally determining the total efficiency is a labor intensive endeavor requiring multiple measurements with a set of single-gamma-emitting standards. Modeling the total efficiency vs. energy may be less time consuming, but is also likely to produce less confidence in the final result. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Radiation Detection and Nuclear Sciences group has constructed a low background 14-crystal HPGe array for sample measurement; in all measurements, samples will be in close proximity to the germanium crystals. This close geometry and the sheer number of efficiency calibrations required for the system have led us to investigate methods to simplify the efficiency calibration procedure. One method we are developing uses the γ–γ coincidence plane to isolate Compton scattering event populations, allowing experimental determination of total detection efficiency values from the measurement of a single mixed isotope standard. A description of the analysis and experimental results of this method are presented.
KeywordsLow background HPGe High purity Germanium Detector array Efficiency Calibration
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