Ultra-Sensitive Portable Gamma-Ray Spectrometer


IT is the purpose of this note to report the construction of a new type of portable detector of the crystal variety, which has been operated with considerable success in northern Canada during the summer of 1949 in the search for uranium. A crystal of approximately 100 gm. is used as the gamma-sensitive scintillation element and, with an integration time for counting of a few seconds, a detection sensitivity of 10−10 R./sec. has been achieved. The use of miniature hearing-aid components has been employed to keep the weight of the complete unit down to 8 lb. Details will be published later. However, one noteworthy feature of the device is its operation as a ‘proportional’ counter or crude gamma-ray spectrometer, in the sense that the differential pulse height distribution gives a measure of the energies of the gamma-rays1. Photo-electron conversion lines and Compton recoil ‘edges’ are employed to identify these energies. In particular, thorium is easily identified by the Compton recoils due to the strong 2.62 MeV. gamma-ray.

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    Pringle, R. W., Roulston, K. I., and Taylor, H. W., [Rev. Sci. Instr., (April 1950)]. Pringle, R. W., Standil, S., and Roulston, K. I., [Phys. Rev. (March 15, 1950)].

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PRINGLE, R., ROULSTON, K. & BROWNELL, G. Ultra-Sensitive Portable Gamma-Ray Spectrometer. Nature 165, 527 (1950). https://doi.org/10.1038/165527a0

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