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École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Radiation Protection and Radiation Applications (FS2015) Radiation Sources (Week 8) Pavel Frajtag q Radiation Concepts q Fast Electron Sources Beta
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Radiation Protection and Radiation Applications (FS2015) Radiation Sources (Week 8) Pavel Frajtag q Radiation Concepts q Fast Electron Sources Beta decay Internal conversion Auger electrons q Heavy Charged Particle Sources Alpha decay Spontaneous fission Radiation Sources: Outline q Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Sources Gamma rays X-rays, characteristic X-rays q Neutron Sources Spontaneous fission Neutrons from (α,n)-reactions Photoneutrons Accelerated charged particles Radiation Concepts (1) q There are four general types of radiation generated in nuclear and atomic processes: Charged particulate radiation: Fast electrons: β + and β from nuclear decay, energetic electrons. Heavy charged particles: all energetic ions with A 1 (p +, α 2+, fission products, nuclear reaction products) Uncharged radiation: Electromagnetic radiation: photons, X-rays (from electron transitions between atomic shells), γ-rays (from nuclear transitions) Neutrons: slow and fast (generated in nuclear reactions.) q (Modes of radioactive decay were already discussed in previous lectures.) q Absolute activity is defined as rate of decay: It measures the source disintegration rate, not the emission rate of radiation. Radiation Concepts (2): Hardness q Energy range of ionizing radiation: 10 ev: minimum energy for ionization of typical materials. to 20 MeV: upper bound for practical applications. q Hard radiation: High penetrating power. Sources are less affected by self-absorption. γ-rays, hard X-rays or neutrons. q Soft radiation: Highly ionizing Low penetrating power Sources must be thin to minimize selfabsorption. Charged particles, soft X-rays. Radia'on Protec'on and Radia'on Applica'ons Radia'on Sources, P. Frajtag Fast Electron Sources: Beta Decay (1) q Radioactive decay in which a beta particle (electron or positron) is emitted. electron emission: beta minus (β ), 0 + n p + e + ν e positron emission: beta plus (β + ) Energy + p n + e + ν e A A ZX Z 1Y β νe A A ZX Z 1Y β νe The Feynman diagram for beta decay of a neutron into a proton, electron, and electron-antineutrino via an intermediate heavy W-boson. q Beta plus decay cannot occur in isolation: Neutron mass m n is greater than m p. Inside nuclei when the absolute value of the binding energy of the daughter nucleus is higher than that of the mother nucleus. The difference of these energies goes into: the process of converting a proton into a neutron, the positron and the neutrino, and into the kinetic energy of these particles. Q-Value Fast Electron Sources: Beta Decay (2) q (Artificial) beta emitters can be produced by neutron irradiation of stable materials in nuclear reactors or high neutron flux facilities. q As most beta decays populate an excited state of the daughter nucleus, they are not pure, i.e., they are accompanied by γ-rays. q Examples for beta decays: Beta minus: Beta plus: Cs Ba + e +ν e Na Ne + e +ν e Electron capture: Na e Ne + ν e Fast Electron Sources: Internal Conversion (1) q Source of nearly monoenergetic electrons: E = E E e q Process: Alternative to de-excitation of an excited nuclear state by emission of a γ-ray photon. Nuclear excitation energy E ex is transferred to an orbital electron. Discrete energies represent transitions between atomic energy levels (shells). A single excited atom can lead to several groups of electrons with different energies. Sometimes sources have superimposed the β-spectrum of the parent nucleus. ex b Fast Electron Sources: Internal Conversion (2) Conversion electrons are the only practical laboratory-size source of monoenergetic electron groups in the high kev to MeV energy range. Fast Electron Sources: Auger Electrons q Auger-effect: binding energy from creating a hole in an inner atomic shell is transferred to another e (interaction due to overlap of e wave functions). (Analogue of internal conversion electrons when the excitation energy originates in the atom.) q Process: Creation of a vacancy in one of the atomic shells. The excitation energy is transferred to one of the outer electrons and it is ejected from the atom: Auger Electron. Low energy compared to β decay and conversion electrons: few kev, because: Favored only in low-z elements: low binding energy. Subjected to pronounced self-absorption within the source and easily stopped by very thin source covers or detector entrance windows. Heavy Charged Particle Sources: Alpha Decay (1) q That is decay by emission of an alpha particle (or 4 He nucleus): A A-4 4 ZX Z-2Y + 2α q Alpha decay can be described in the framework of Quantum Mechanics: penetration through a potential barrier (tunneling). q Probability of emission increases with the energy of the alpha particle E α (~e G, G=Gamow-Factor). 10 Heavy Charged Particle Sources: Alpha Decay (2) q Each α particle shares the energy with the recoil nucleus in a unique way (Q=Q-value of the decay): E α = Q (A - 4)/A q Alpha particles appear in one or more (essentially) monoenergetic energy groups. q Typical kinetic energy E α ~ 5 MeV with a speed of 15,000 km/s. q Alpha particles are among the most hazardous forms of internal radiation: Energy loss takes place within a very short distance. Significant damage to surrounding biomolecules. q External alpha irradiation is not harmful: Completely absorbed by a very thin (µm) dead layer of skin as well as by a few centimeters of air. 11 Heavy Charged Particles: Spontaneous Fission (1) q Form of radioactive decay characteristic of very heavy isotopes. q Theoretically possible for any atomic nucleus with A 100 (near Ruthenium, Ru). q Spontaneous fission is only energetically feasible for A 230 (near Thorium, Th). Most susceptible: high-z actinide elements such as Mendelevium (Md), Lawrencium (Lr), and the trans-actinide elements, such as Rutherfordium (Rf). q The criterion for spontaneous fission to occur is approximately: q It follows the exact same process as nuclear fission: It releases neutrons as all fissions do, so if a critical mass is present, a spontaneous fission can initiate a chain reaction. q Also, radioisotopes for which spontaneous fission is a non-negligible decay mode may be used as neutron sources: e.g. 252 Cf (half-life years, SF branching ratio 3.09%). Applied to: inspect airline luggage for hidden explosives, to gauge the moisture content of soil in road construction and building industries, to measure the moisture of materials stored in silos, etc. 2 Z A 45 12 Heavy Charged Particles: Spontaneous Fission (2) q Fission fragments are medium-weight positive ions. q Fission is generally asymmetric: clustering into light (A~108) and heavy (A~143) groups. q Initial charge approaches Z of the fragment and is reduced by interaction with the material. q Energy shared by the two fragments: ~185 MeV. q Asymmetric distribution of kinetic energy: light fragments receive the largest. q Sources must be thin to overcome selfabsorption. 13 EMR: Gamma Rays (following β-decay) (1) q Emitted in the transition to lower energy levels in a nucleus. Energy of photon = ΔE excited-final q Excited nuclei are produced by decay of a parent radionuclide: Beta-decay leads to excited nucleus (parent half-life). Energy is emitted as γ-photons (half-life ~ps). The energy level structure reflects that of the daughter nucleus. The γ-emission half-life is that of the parent nucleus. 14 EMR: Gamma Rays (following β-decay) (2) q Nuclear states have very well defined energies: γ-rays emitted have well defined energies with very narrow peaks (nearly monoenergetic), E γ = E i E f. Can be used for detector calibration. q Gamma reference sources are essential in radiation measurement laboratories: They consist of samples of β-emitters of a few µci (~10 5 Bq). Encased in plastic disks or rods and encapsulated to stop particulate radiation. Secondary radiation, annihilation photons (next slide) or Bremsstrahlung can be significant. Radiation hazard is minimal due to low absolute activity. q Energy is limited to about 2.8 MeV. Higher energies from: 56 Co (3.55 MeV, half-life 77 days) 16 N (6.13 and 7.11 MeV, half-life 7 s). 15 EMR: Gamma Rays from Annihilation Radiation q Produced in nuclei undergoing β + - decay. q The positrons travel only a few millimetres before being stopped and annihilated by matter-antimatter interaction. q This radiation is super-imposed on any gamma radiation emitted in the decay of the daughter nucleus. + e + e 2 γ ( m c = 0.511MeV) e 2 16 EMR: Gamma Rays from Nuclear Reactions q High energy γ-rays can be produced from nuclear energy transitions of higherlying nuclear states. q Nuclear reactions provide the needed high energy excited states. q Reactions used: Alpha absorption: 61fs * α Be C n C+ γ (4.44MeV) Doppler broadening, 0.59 γ/n 20ps * α Sources are a combination of an α-emitter and the target material. Large α-yields must be used for practical intensities: e.g Bq of 238 PuO 2 and 200mg of 13 C give a source of 770 photons/s of MeV γ-rays. γ-rays from absorption of thermal neutrons (radiative neutron-capture): Intense flux from nuclear reactors or accelerator facilities. Weaker fluxes from radioisotope sources of neutrons. Gamma energies as high as 9 MeV. C O n O+ γ (6.130MeV) No Doppler broadening 17 EMR: X-Rays from Bremsstrahlung (1) q Bremsstrahlung is the process of producing electromagnetic radiation by the acceleration of a charged particle, such as an electron, when deflected by another charged particle, such as an atomic nucleus. q Bremsstrahlung has a continuous spectrum: The fraction of e - energy converted into Bremsstrahlung increases with the electron energy and target Z. The average photon energy is a small fraction of the incident electron energy k. Bremsstrahlung cannot be directly used for calibration of detectors. e - Fast electron (k) Nucleus (A,Z) k: kinetic energy Photons (E, Ω +dω) Ω+dΩ: solid angle Spectrum produced by monoenergetic electrons 18 EMR: X-Rays from Bremsstrahlung (2) q Bremsstrahlung is used to produce X- rays from conventional X-ray tubes. Continuous spectrum altered by: v Filtration with absorber materials. v Peaked spectrum can be created by removing lower energy photons. v Can be used for calibration of detectors whose response changes only gradually with energy. Broad peaks q Bremsstrahlung also produced by: β-emitters interacting with shielding. Changes in nucleus electric field during β-decay. 19 EMR: Characteristic X-Rays (1) q X-Rays come from the re-arrangement of orbital electrons from excited atomic energy levels to ground states. q Characteristic X-ray series depending on the shell with the vacancies. q K-series is the most energetic, energy grows with Z: Na (Z=11) 1 kev, Ga (Z=31) 10 kev, Ra (Z=88) 100 kev. Energies in the K-series: E = E E K L K E = E E M α K M K β E = E E = K K max free K K free Binding Energy free q The energy of the characteristic X-rays is unique. They can be used for element analysis. q Auger electron emission competes with characteristic X-ray emission. q Fluorescent yield: fraction of all cases in which the atom emits a characteristic X-ray photon in its deexcitation. K α K β K-series of X-rays M L K 20 EMR: Characteristic X-Rays (2) q Excitation by Electron Capture: + p + e n+ ν e Nuclear electron capture from a K-shell electron creates a vacancy. The daughter atom is still neutral (Z-1), but a hole exists in on of the inner shells. The hole is filled by upper-shell electrons and gives a characteristic X-ray spectrum. q Excitation by Internal Conversion: K-electrons are the most readily converted: the K-series is the most prominent. Gamma-ray de-excitation competes with this process, thus the K X-rays are produced together with γ-photons. If the energy of the converted electrons is high, Bremsstrahlung is also possible. 21 EMR: Characteristic X-Rays (3) q The yield of high-energy γ-rays from nuclear transitions is large compared to the characteristic X-rays. q A pure X-ray source needs a radioisotope that decays by electron capture leading directly to a ground nuclear state of the daughter. q 55 Fe is the most used because of its half-life and specific activity, and its nearly pure source of K-series of Mn at 5.9 kev, with very little Bremsstrahlung. q Sources must be thin to prevent self-absorption of X-rays and have a high specific activity. 22 EMR: Characteristic X-Rays (4) q Excitation by external radiation: external sources of radiation used are: X-rays, e, α, etc. The radiation excites the parent atom which emits characteristic X-rays (isotropically). q The energy of X-rays depends on the target material: Low Z soft X-rays; High Z hard X-rays. Compact source of characteristic X-rays with a-particle excitation. 23 EMR: Synchrotron Radiation q Synchrotron radiation is electromagnetic radiation: Generated by the acceleration of ultrarelativistic electrons through magnetic fields. Artificially by storage rings in a Synchrotron, or naturally by fast electrons moving through magnetic fields in space. The radiation spectrum typically spans from infrared (few ev) to X-rays (10 kev). q Characteristics: High brightness and intensity, many orders of magnitude more than with X-rays produced in conventional X-ray tubes. High brilliance, exceeding other natural and artificial light sources by many orders of magnitude: 3 rd generation sources typically have a brilliance larger than photons/s/mm 2 /mrad 2 /0.1%BW, where 0.1%BW denotes a bandwidth 10-3 ω centered around the frequency ω. High collimation, i.e. small angular divergence of beam. Low emittance, i.e. the product of source cross section and solid angle of emission is small. Wide tunability in energy/wavelength by monochromatization (sub ev up to the MeV range). High level of polarization (linear or elliptical). Pulsed light emission (pulse durations at or below 1 ns). See, e.g., (Swiss Light Source) 24 Large Neutron Sources q Nuclear fission in a reactor produces neutrons which can be used for experiments. This (not the study of nuclear fission itself) is the purpose of nuclear research reactors. q A spallation source is a high-flux source, in which protons that have been accelerated to high energies hit a target material, prompting the emission of neutrons. SINQ Spallation Source at PSI Experimental TRIGA Reactor 25 Small Neutron Sources: Overview q Excitation levels with energies larger than the neutron binding energy are not produced as a result of any convenient radioactive decay process. q Small neutron sources can be build based on: Spontaneous Fission (SF). (α,n) nuclear reactions. Neutron ejection of a nucleus induced by gamma radiation (photoneutrons). Photofission: Neutrons are produced when gamma rays with high enough energies cause heavy nuclei to fission. In sealed tube neutron generators fusion reactions of deuterium and/or tritium ions are induced that produce neutrons. 26 Neutron Sources: Spontaneous Fission (SF) (1) q SF appears in many of the transuranic heavy nuclides (Z 92). q It produces: Several fast neutrons. Heavy fission products. Prompt fission γ-rays (in ns). β and γ activity of the fission products. Spontaneous fission rates U E-03 f/s-kg U f/s-kg Pu f/s-kg Pu ,000 f/s-kg q The neutron energy spectrum is peaked between 0.5 and 1 MeV and can be approximated by: dn = E e de 1/2 E/ T 27 Neutron Sources: Spontaneous Fission (SF) (2) q The most common SF source is 252 Cf (Z=98). q Characteristics: 2.6 year half-life Dominant decay mechanism is α-decay Extremely radioactive (1 mg spontaneously emits 170 million neutrons per minute) q Produced in nuclear reactors: from irradiation of Cm with α-particles. q 252 Cf neutron sources are typically 1/4 to 1/2 in diameter and 1 to 2 in length. The price of a typical 252 Cf neutron source is from $15,000 to $20,000. q Some uses of the 252 Cf sources: Neutron start-up source for some nuclear reactors, calibrating instrumentation. Treatment of certain cervical and brain cancers where other radiation therapies are ineffective. Radiography of aircraft to detect metal fatigue. Airport neutron-activation detectors of explosives. Neutron moisture gauges used to find water and petroleum layers in oil wells. Portable neutron source in gold and silver prospecting for on-the-spot analysis. 28 Neutron Sources: (α,n) Sources (1) q Neutrons are produced in (α,n)-reactions. The source of α is a radioisotope. Self-contained sources have a mixture of an α-emitter and a target material. The maximum neutron yield comes from 9 Be as a target material. q Sources of (α,n) neutrons: All α-emitters are actinides: 239 Pu, 210 Po, 241 Am, 244 Cm, 226 Ra, etc. Basic reaction for Be neutron sources: 61fs * α Be C n C+ γ (4.44MeV) Most α-particles are absorbed in the target, only 1 in 10 4 reacts with Be. They form stable alloy of the form MBe 13 (M=actinide metal), with no intermediate loss of energy for the α-particle. Typical double-walled Be(α,n) source 29 Neutron Sources: (α,n) Sources (2) Most widely used High n yields, high specific activity Low γ background, simple α decay process. Ideal Intense γ background radiation from daughters 30 Neutron Sources: (α,n) Sources (3) q Energy spectra of all sources with 9 Be are similar. Differences reflect the small variations in the primary α-particle energies. Thick sources have more spread, i.e, the originally discrete α-energy spectrum is washed out. Additonal sources of (α,n) 31 Neutron Sources: Photoneutrons (1) q The excitation of the nucleus is done by high energy γ-rays: Photoneutron sources combine a powerful γ-emitter with a target isotope. Only two target nuclei are practical: 9 Be and 2 H: Photoneutron sources produce monoenergetic neutrons (for monoenergetic gammas). They need very large γ-ray activities (1 out of photons produces 1 n). Common emitters are: 226 Ra, 124 Sb, 72 Ga, 140 La, 24 Na. Very short half-lives require reactivation in a nuclear reactor between uses. 32 Neutron Sources: Photoneutrons (2) 33 Neutron Sources: Accelerated Charged Particles q Alpha particles are the only heavy-charged particles with low Z available from radioisotopes. q Other charged particles for neutron sources must be artificially accelerated. q Two of the most common reactions (with their Q-values) are fusion reactions: q Characteristics of the sources: Low coulomb barrier (low Z target) requires accelerating potentials of kv for the charged particles. All neutrons have the same energy (large Q-value): 3 MeV (D-D) and 14 MeV (D-T). Typical yields: 1 ma 2 H beam will produce 10 9 n/s for 2 H and n/s for 3 H targets, so a compact source with a portable high-voltage generator is possible. Other reactions 9 Be(d,n), 7 Li(p,n) and 3 H(p,n) require large accelerators (Q 0). 34 Literature q Glenn F. Knoll, Radiation Detection and Measurement, John Wiley & Sons (4 th edition, 2010, and 3 rd edition, 2000) q James E. Martin, Physics for Radiation Protection, Wiley- VCH (2 nd edition, 2006) q James E. Turner, Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection, Wiley-VCH (3 rd edition, 2007) 35
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