The Effects of Radiation Escape on Accuracy and Precision in Isotopic Composition Determination of Uranium and Plutonium Samples with Decay Energy Spectroscopy

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Ockrin, Timothy
Koehler, Katrina
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Decay Energy Spectroscopy (DES) results in high energy resolution (1-5 keV @ 5 MeV) spectra of decay energies where the energy of each decay is measured as a single event as opposed to individual measurements of each decay particle. In order to accomplish this, the measured source is not external to the absorber, but embedded within it. DES can be used for nuclear safeguards, metrology, and medical isotope development, but measurements are affected by incomplete energy capture occurring when decay particles escape the absorber. In order to reduce escape likelihood, absorbers can be capped with a layer of gold. Geant4, a Monte-Carlo simulation software capable of handling energy transport between particles, is used to simulate DES measurements with varying thicknesses of absorber cap. Analysis of these spectra shows that the biggest benefit of capping can be realized by adding 5 μm of gold to all dimensions, reducing the escape of most alpha-decaying uranium and plutonium radionuclides by an order of magnitude.
XLII Annual Rochester Symposium for Physics Students, University of Rochester, April 20, 2024
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