Difficult Execution Time Data Analysis Radioactive Sources
No Gamma


SP5640Backpack Detector
Gamma Radioactive Source

Purpose of the experiment

Recording and comparing the γ energy spectra of several radioactive sources is the main goal of the experiment. The photo-peaks are used to calibrate the response of the system and to measure the energy resolution.


Linearity and energy resolution are the main figures of merit of a spectrometric system. In the proposed experiment, based on a scintillating crystal coupled to a Silicon Photomultipliers, deviations in the linearity may be due to the sensor or the front-end electronics saturation. The student is guided through the analysis of the response curve using a series of isotopes up to the MeV energy by a 60Co source and to disentangle the different effects.
At the same time, the energy resolution of the system is measured by the width of the photo-peaks and the results compared to what is expected by the fluctuations in the number of detected scintillation photons, the system noise, the sensor stochastic effects, the intrinsic resolution of the scintillator.
This is following an initial activity on the optimization of the operating parameters by an analysis of the photo-peak position and the resolution for a single isotope.

Carrying out the experiment

The experiment can be performed both by taking off the instrumentation from the backpack and using the backpack with the open zipper. To power ON γstream, press the ON/OFF button. Take care that the γstream internal battery is charged, otherwise use the external power system. Connect the Ethernet cable from γstream to the PC and configure the Ethernet network of your PC. Connect γstream to the MC2Analyzer software through Ethernet connection. Run the software and power ON the detector. Place the radioactive source close to the scintillator/under the central part of the backpack. Once the radioactive source is properly positioned, the spectrum can be recorded. 


By fitting the photo-peaks with a Gaussian curve, the system linearity as a function of energy is verified. The peak widths is determining the energy resolution. At more advanced level, the interpretation of the results accounting for the system properties may be performed.

Energy Calibration

Energy calibration

Energy dependance of the systema resolution

Energy dependance of the systema resolution