Low Activity Mössbauer Sources for Undergraduate Labs

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Mann, Keith
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Houghton College
Mössbauer experiments for undergraduates typically use radioactive sources measured in mCi, which excludes small institutions that do not have radioactive source licenses. In response to this need, we are developing a technique for producing inexpensive, low-activity, license-exempt Mössbauer sources. Cobalt in a solution of CoCl2 in HCl containing approximately 1 ?Ci of 57Co will be electroplated to a stainless steel foil and subsequently heated in a vacuum to about 1000oC to allow the 57Co atoms to permeate the crystal lattice of the steel substrate. Several different methods of measuring the temperature have been tested in order to ensure that the foil is heated to the optimal temperature. Once created, these radioactive sources will be tested using a standard Mössbauer apparatus with the long-term intention of using the Mössbauer effect to measure the transverse Doppler shift due to relativistic effects as an undergraduate lab.
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