Equipment to detect, identify, and measure radioactivity is a key component in the safe and responsible development of nuclear science and technology. Whether designed to monitor radioactive processes, provide an alert, or characterize the radiation measured, these systems “see” what is undetectable to human senses. Used in nuclear power, industry, medical imaging, nuclear medicine, scientific exploration, and nuclear security, radiation detectors provide information about the radiation present and can be used to interpret what the source of the radioactivity is.
KeywordsLithium Benzene Recombination Boron Helium
- Alpha particle
A particle emitted during radioactive decay that is comprised of two protons and two neutrons, equivalent to the nucleus of a 4He atom.
- Beta particle
An electron or a positron (the positively charged antimatter twin of an electron) emitted during radioactive decay.
- Electron volt (eV)
A unit of energy measurement defined by the kinetic energy gained by a free electron when accelerated through a potential difference of 1V; approximately equivalent to 1.602 × 10−19 joule.
- Gamma radiation
Highly energetic electromagnetic radiation (energy greater than approximately 100keV) emitted from the nucleus during radioactive decay.
- Ionizing radiation
Particles or light with sufficient energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule.
A species of atomic nuclei, defined by the number of protons and neutrons present in the nucleus; nuclides are represented by the chemical symbol and atomic mass number. Two examples are 14C (carbon-14, six protons and eight neutrons) and 235U (uranium-235, 92 protons and 143 neutrons).
Describes an unstable atomic nucleus that releases energy through ionizing radiation.
A type of detector that uses fluorescence to detect radiation.
The measurement of radiation intensity as a function of radiation energy; a device or system of detectors capable of spectroscopy is referred to as a spectrometer.
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