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www.elsevier.com/locate/nima

T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen

STUK Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, P.O. Box 14, FIN-00881 Helsinki, Finland

Received 15 March 2005; accepted 10 May 2005

Available online 6 July 2005

Abstract

A Monte Carlo code, known as advanced alpha-spectrometric simulation (AASI), is developed for simulating energy

spectra in alpha spectrometry. The code documented here is a comprehensive package where all the major processes

affecting the spectrum are included. A unique feature of the code is its ability to take into account coincidences between

the particles emitted from the source. Simulations and measurements highlight the importance of coincidences in high-

resolution alpha spectrometry. To show the validity of the simulated results, comparisons with measurements and other

simulation codes are presented.

r 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

down of charged particles, can provide acceptable

Monte Carlo simulations have proven to be results. In many cases, simulation is the only

adequate tools for describing alpha-, beta- and practical way to explore the physics behind

gamma-particle transport, even in complex geo- observed phenomena.

metries. A great variety of computer codes have Alpha-particle spectrometry is a widely-used

been developed for particle transport, dosimetry, analytical method, for example in surveys of

particle physics and industrial applications. Dif- environmental radioactivity. The low activity of

ferent levels of sophistication exist among the the samples necessitates long counting times and a

codes, but even the simplest ones, which take into small sample-detector distance (SDD). The draw-

account Rutherford and Compton scattering, back of a small SDD is the possibility of

coincidence summing between the emitted alpha

Corresponding author. Tel.: +358 9 75988 318; particle and subsequent emissions from the

fax: +358 9 759 88 433. daughter nucleus. In addition, carefully designed

E-mail address: teemu.siiskonen@stuk. (T. Siiskonen). sample preparation techniques are essential, since

0168-9002/$ - see front matter r 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

doi:10.1016/j.nima.2005.05.045

ARTICLE IN PRESS

426 T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434

the alpha particles continuously lose their energy 2. Properties of the source and particle tracking

as they travel through matter. The energy loss

leads to degradation of the spectrum quality via Particle propagation through a material layer is

peak spreading, which increases with as the SDD determined by two physical processes: direction

is reduced. changes (scattering) and energy loss. The algo-

Simulations can be used to investigate the rithm for particle propagation in a given material

inuence of various phenomena on the spectrum layer proceeds as follows:

quality. The most important factors can be singled

out and the measurement setup can be optimised. (1) Emit a particle from a randomly selected point.

Moreover, unknown properties of the source, such (2) Calculate the distance, i.e. step length to the

as source density (or thickness) or source particle next scattering (or photoabsorption) event

properties, can be determined. This is important, using the cross-section data.

especially in the case of direct alpha spectrometry, (3) If the particle is charged, adjust the step if a

when radiochemical sample treatment is omitted. boundary of absorbing material is crossed.

The particle beam attenuation and interactions in Calculate the continuous energy loss during

basic research can also be examined. the step.

Many Monte Carlo simulation packages, such (4) If the particle energy is below the cut-off value,

as the TRIM package [1], the GEANT software stop tracking.

suite [2], and MCNP code [3], are suitable (5) If the particle crossed boundary of the material

for simulating the alpha particle behaviour in the layer, proceed to the next layer if one is

medium. However, these packages are not neces- present. Otherwise, stop tracking.

sarily optimal for alpha spectrometry simulations. (6) Determine the next direction vector, i.e.

More specic approaches to alpha-spectroscopic scattering angles.

simulations include the backscattering study (7) If the particle is a photon, determine the energy

of Ferrero et al. [4] and the investigation loss in the scattering or photoabsorption event.

of aerosol particles by Pickering [5]. Roldan (8) Goto (2).

et al. [6] examined the spectrum quality at a

small SDD. Here, characteristics of the source as well as the

The present Monte Carlo simulation code, particle tracking method, i.e. determination of the

known as Advanced Alpha-spectrometric SImula- scattering angles, are described. Calculation of the

tion (AASI), is designed to simulate alpha-particle energy loss of alpha particles, electrons and

energy spectra. It is intended to be a comprehen- photons is presented in the following sections.

sive simulation package where all the major

processes inuencing the energy spectrum are 2.1. Source

included. Samples of various types (aerosol

particles, thick samples, non-uniform samples, Particle emission can originate from a point or

etc.) are accommodated. Coincidences between from a nite-sized object. These objects, e.g.

the emitted particles are calculated using nuclide- aerosol particles, can be embedded in the source

specic decay data that are stored in a library le matrix. The composition of the source matrix and

prepared in extensible markup language, XML. the objects that emit radiation need not to be the

Although the code has so far been applied to the same. For example, alpha particles can be emitted

simulation of alpha particle energy spectra from from an aerosol particle located inside a glass-bre

environmental samples, it can also be used for lter. In the spectrum simulations the number of

other applications. The typical running time on a alpha particle emissions is given in the input.

1.6 GHz Pentium PC varies from seconds to a The thickness of the source can be subjected to

couple of minutes depending on the complexity of random uctuation that is assumed to follow a

the simulation problem. The code is written in Gaussian distribution with a user-given standard

Fortran 95. deviation s. To prevent impossibly large thick-

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T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434 427

nesses, the resulting source thickness H s r is standard deviation of the efciency, is given in

limited to the input. Calculation of the geometrical detection

efciency is necessary, for example, in direct alpha

0pH s rpH ss (1)

spectrometry when radiochemical sample treat-

where r is the radial position inside the source, s is ment is omitted. Tracers cannot then be used for

a user-given parameter and H is the nominal quantitative activity determination.

(mean) thickness. The measurement setup, consisting of the

Coordinates of the source particles are sampled source, source backing, absorbing material layers

as described by Siiskonen and Pollanen [7]. For and the detector, can be plotted in a le for visual

sources with a random thickness and convex or inspection. Library routines for plotting were

concave sources, the vertical coordinate is sampled written by Kohler [8].

by the rejection method. Convex and concave

source shapes are described with a paraboloid of 2.2. Particle tracking

revolution. The user of the code supplies the

central and side thicknesses of the source. If the Electrons are tracked when they travel in the

source thickness is zero, all source particles lie on a source, in the source backing and in the detector,

plane. including its dead layer. Photons are only tracked

Source particles can have a spherical or elliptical inside the detector (including its dead layer). Alpha

shape. Spherical source particles can have a log- particles are tracked in the source backing for

normal size distribution. Inactive source particles backscattering studies. Otherwise, particles are

can be coated with a uniform layer of radioactive assumed to travel in straight paths. The tracked

material. In addition, a spherical shell of inactive particle is followed until it escapes the absorbing

material can be placed around a spherical source material or its energy falls below a cut-off value.

particle. When crossing a boundary between two adjacent

The distance of the source particles from the absorbing layers, the tracking step length is adjusted

source surface can be exponentially distributed so that the step does not cross the layer boundary.

inside the source matrix. This is a useful feature for Particle tracking starts with the sampling of the

investigating air lters in which radioactive aerosol initial emission coordinates. The initial emission

particles are accumulated. This option is only direction y0 ; f0 is chosen from a uniform

available for cylindrical sources without thickness distribution. Following the emission, the cosine

uctuations. The distance d i of a source particle i of the polar angle yn (see Fig. 1) of the tracked

from the source surface is obtained from particle is determined by

d i l ln xi (2) cos yn cos o cos yn1 sin o sin yn1 cos c (3)

i where yn is the polar angle after nth scattering, o is

where x is a random number between 0 and 1, and

l is the mean penetration depth given by the user. the scattering polar angle and c is the scattering

Another user-given parameter, f, determines the azimuthal angle. The cosine and sine of the

fraction of the particles to be distributed according azimuthal angle fn are given by

to Eq. (2). The rest, fraction 1 f , is distributed sin fn sinfn fn1 cos fn1 cosfn fn1

on the source surface (d i 0). Particles which

have d i larger than the source thickness penetrate sin fn1 4

the source and are ignored. The total number of

emissions from the source is reduced accordingly. cos fn cosfn fn1 cos fn1 sinfn fn1

An average solid angle subtended by the sin fn1 5

detector, the geometrical detection efciency, is where

calculated. This is the number of hits received by

the detector divided by the number of alpha sin o sin c

sinfn fn1 (6)

particle emissions. The desired accuracy, the sin yn

ARTICLE IN PRESS

428 T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434

n n1

Alpha particle energy loss is calculated as

described in Ref. [7], using the stopping power

parametrisation of Ziegler as described in Ref. [9].

The total stopping power is the sum of the

stopping power due to electrons, Se , and the

nuclear stopping power, Sn . In the energy region

of interest (below 10 MeV), Se is parametrised as

n B 1 1 1

(9)

O Se S low S high

n-1 where

Slow c1 E cp2 c3 E cp4 (10)

A and

p lnc7 E p c8 E p . (11)

OA, the new direction is OB. The scattering polar angle is o

and the azimuthal angle is c. Laboratory polar angles are yn

Values of parameters c1 ; . . . ; c8 are tabulated in

and yn1 . The z-axis is parallel to the detector symmetry axis Ref. [9]. Here, E p is the energy of a proton moving

and points from the source towards the detector. at the same velocity as the alpha particle in

question. For composite materials, other parame-

trisations are also available [7].

An arbitrary number of absorbing material

and layers can be added between the source and the

detector. The user supplies the number of layers,

cos o cos yn cos yn1

cosfn fn1 . (7) their atomic and mass numbers, densities, thick-

sin yn sin yn1 nesses and standard deviations representing the

thickness uctuations. Alpha particles are assumed

All angles are in laboratory coordinates. The

to travel straight paths, except in the source

scattering angle o depends on the differential

backing where their path is tracked collision by

scattering cross-section. After the initial emission,

collision.

the particles undergo successive scatterings which

are assumed to be statistically independent.

Alpha particle scattering is calculated in the 3.2. Energy loss straggling

centre-of-mass frame. Before the determination of

cos yn , the scattering angle is transformed to Straggling of the alpha particle energy loss can

laboratory coordinates via be approximated by a Gaussian energy distribu-

tion. Although not strictly correct with thin

sin j absorbing layers,1 it gives a reasonable estimate

tan o ma (8)

cos j in many cases. Standard deviation sG of the

M Gaussian distribution depends on the maximum

energy transfer in one collision between the alpha

where j is the scattering polar angle in centre-

of-mass coordinates, ma and M are the 1

The asymmetric Vavilov (or Landau) distribution is better

masses of alpha particle and target atom, respec- with thin absorbers. However, computationally they are much

tively. more complex.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434 429

particle and an atomic electron, E max , given where a0 is the Bohr radius. The effective

approximately by 2me c2 b2 g2 . The parameter g is charge of the alpha particle, zeff , is calculated

dened through gma c2 E, where E is the energy as described in Refs. [9,11]. The mean free

of the alpha particle. The deviation is given by [2] distance (step length) between the collisions, L, is

sampled from

b2

s2G E max d 1 (12)

2 L sEN1 ln x (18)

where b is the alpha particle velocity in units of c. where N N A r=A is the atomic density and N A is

Parameter d is the average energy loss in the the Avogadro constant. The mean atomic spacing

material layer in question, N 1=3 is used as a step length if LoN 1=3 .

Z Moreover, if the energy loss between two succes-

d 0:0614 r dx keV. (13) sive collisions is more than ve percent of the

b2 A

alpha particle energy, the step length for the

Here, Z and A are the atomic and mass number of energy loss calculation is reduced until the loss is

the target, respectively, r is the material density in less than ve percent.

g=cm3 and dx is the distance travelled in micro- Angular deection in the scattering event from a

meters. potential (14) is given by

2Zx

3.3. Scattering in the source backing plate cos o 1 (19)

1Zx

Alpha particles can be tracked in the source and c 2px (the xs are independent random

backing plate. Screened elastic Rutherford scatter- numbers).

ing is used to determine the changes in the ight

direction. Between the elastic collisions, alpha

particles are assumed to lose their energy con- 3.4. Detector response to alpha particles

tinuously. The mean free distance between the

collisions is calculated from the potential Alpha particle energy loss in the detector dead

layer is treated as described in Section 3.1. When

e2 2Z r=a

V r e (14) the alpha particle hits the active volume of the

4p0 r

detector, all its remaining energy is assumed to be

where a is the screening radius, e is electron charge deposited. In other words, alpha particles are

magnitude, 0 is the permittivity of free space and r neither tracked nor is their energy loss calculated

is the radial distance. The resulting total cross- in the active volume of the detector. Instead, a

section is simplied solution is chosen which notably reduces

the calculation time.

Z2

sE p_ca2 (15) The properties of the detector are read from the

E 2 ZZ 1 user-prepared le. The parameters are the atomic

where a is the ne structure constant and screening and mass numbers of the detector material,

parameter detector radius and thickness, dead layer thick-

2 ness, detector full-width at half-maximum

_ 1 (FWHM) and the parameters of the exponential

Z . (16)

a 8ma c2 E tailing function.

Measurements show that the detector response

The screening radius is given by [10]

to monoenergetic alpha particles is not Gaussian

0:885a0 [1214]. To take this into account, a double-

a q (17)

2=3 exponential tailing function can be added to the

zeff Z2=3 detector response. The resulting energy E is

ARTICLE IN PRESS

430 T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434

2 2 "

nR nE 0 E dE e e 2pN A Zr E e E e me c2 2 b2

PE e ln

1R 2

m dx 4p0 me c2 b A 2I 2 me c2

emE 0 E ; EpE 0 20 q

1R

1 b2 ln 2 2 1 b2 1 b2

where E 0 is the energy of the incoming alpha

particle. The user supplies the parameters n, m and

q2 #

1

R. They should be determined from the measure- 1 1 b2 24

8

ments of good quality (i.e. thin) sources at a large

SDD. Parameter RX0 is the ratio of the areas of where I 16Z0:9 (eV) is the average ionisation

the two exponential distributions. Typical values energy of the target atom [2]. We neglect

for Canberra PIPS with an area of 450 mm2 are bremsstrahlung and the production of delta

n 0:1 keV1 , m 0:02 keV1 and R 12:0. electrons and X-rays, since their inuence on the

FWHM of the Gaussian detector response is detected electron energy spectrum is small. The

14 keV. Convolution with the Gaussian detector mean distance between the collisions and the

response is done after the tailing. angular deection is calculated as for the alpha

particles, except that the maximum energy loss per

step is ten percent of the electron energy.

4. Simulation of electron and photon behaviour in When an electron hits the detector, its path is

medium followed through the dead layer and into the active

volume. In the dead layer, the user has an option

4.1. Electrons to have a partially-depleted region, where the

electron deposits part of its energy in the detected

Large-angle deections of the electrons result signal. The amount of energy deposited in the

from the screened elastic Rutherford scattering, formation of the signal, E s , is then given by

Eqs. (14) and (15), with Z replaced with z

E s DE e ; 0pzpdzdl (25)

ZZ 1=2, see, e.g. Ref. [15]. The screening dzdl

parameter Z can be chosen from three alternative

where DE e is the electron energy loss at depth z

models. Nigam et al. [16] suggested that

and dzdl is the dead layer thickness. In the active

Z 2=3 volume of the detector, the deposited energy is

ZN 5:448 (21) equal to the detected signal, E s DE e .

Ee

The number of backscattered and transmitted

where E e is the electron kinetic energy. Adesida et particles from the detector is calculated. A particle is

al. [17] tted electron scattering data in aluminium counted as backscattered when it escapes from the

and proposed that front side of the detector, and as transmitted when it

Z 2=3 escapes from other sides of the detector. For back-

ZA 2:61 . (22) scattering studies, a parallel electron beam hitting the

Ee

detector surface perpendicularly can be used.

Moliere [18] (see also [16]) concluded that

4.2. Photons

0:36 1:20aZ=b2

ZM a2 Z 2=3 (23)

tt 2

Photons are assumed to interact via photoelectric

where t E e =me c2 and me is the mass of the absorption and Compton scattering. Pair produc-

electron. tion is ignored, since we are interested in low-energy

Between the elastic collisions the electrons phenomena. The mean free distance is calculated

continuously lose their energy. The energy loss is from the total cross-section of the above-mentioned

ARTICLE IN PRESS

T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434 431

which interaction occurs at the interaction point. sP E g sC E g . The mean free distance is then

The total photoelectric absorption cross-section Lg E g sE g N1 ln x. (29)

is read from a text le and interpolated. Data were

obtained from the National Institute of Standards

and Technology database [20]. If data for the

element in question do not exist, an analytical 5. Treatment of coincidences

approximation for the cross-section [21]

The majority of alpha emitters have a sign-

28 p 5 E I 7=2 2

sP E g aZ a0 (26) icant decay branch to excited states of the

3 Eg

daughter nucleus. The excited states decay by

This approximation overestimates the total cross- gamma-ray or conversion electron emission.

section for most elements, especially at low Since the lifetimes of the excited states are

energies (less than 100 keV). For example, the typically much shorter than the integration time

overestimation is approximately a factor of 10 in of the data acquisition electronics, pulse summa-

Si when E g is between 15 and 100 keV. As the tion between the alpha particle and particles

overestimation is quite large, the user should emitted by the daughter nucleus may occur.

supplement the photoelectric data library for the The summation is more pronounced when the

element in question, if possible. After the photo- SDD is small.

electric absorption, an electron is ejected in the The summation may lead to distortion

direction of the incoming photon, with E e E g . of the peak shape and, thus, may have an inu-

X-rays produced in this process are ignored. Their ence on nuclide identication. A good example

energy is often so small that the photon is is separation of 239Pu and 240Pu, which is

absorbed in the detector. difcult even in the case of a high-resolution

The differential cross-section for Compton detector and a sophisticated spectrum deconvolu-

scattering is tion code. Another example is the coincidence

dsC a_c2 1 summation of 241Am, whose main alpha

decay branch leads to third excited state of the

dO 2 me c E g 1 cos o2

2

( daughter 237Np, resulting in a clearly visible

E 2g 1 cos o2 bump on the high-energy side of the 241Am main

me c2 me c2 E g 1 cos o alpha peak.

) The probability of each alpha decay branch is

1 cos2 o 27 given in the nuclide library le, consisting of a

schema le and actual library in XML format. The

Fortran-XML interface is written by Markus [23].

neglecting the binding energy and momentum of The alpha decay branch for an individual decay is

the atomic electron. The photon scattering angle is selected using a random number. The nuclide

calculated from distribution (27) using the rejec- library le also contains decay routes of the excited

tion method by Brusa et al. [22]. The total cross states of the daughter nucleus. Each decay route

section for Compton scattering is has a known probability of occurrence (yield),

(" 2 #

pa_2 me c2 me c2 decay type (gamma or conversion electron emis-

sC E g Z 12 2 sion), initial and nal state indices, and energy of

me E g Eg Eg

the emitted particle. The emission of a conversion

2E g me c2 1 m e c2 electron is associated with an X-ray, whose energy

ln 2

4

me c 2 Eg is given in the library.

)

2 2

me c For each excited state of the decay route a

. 28 random number is used to select the next decay

22E g me c2 2 channel (i.e., nal state and emitted particle). The

ARTICLE IN PRESS

432 T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434

route is followed until the ground state is reached. 6. Comparisons with measurements and other

For each emitted particle, the emission direction is simulations

sampled. After the conversion electron emission,

an X-ray is emitted before the cascade is followed Geometrical detection efciency and the alpha

further. We assume that each conversion electron particle energy loss were investigated by Siiskonen

is associated with X-ray emission. This is a and Pollanen [7]. They found an excellent agree-

simplication, since we overlook uorescence ment with earlier results and measurements. To

yields and Auger electrons. The approximation is further conrm the homogeneity of the emission

good for heavy elements, whose K-shell uores- point distribution inside a source, we compared a

cence yields are close to 100%. simulated alpha particle energy spectrum from a

If the particle deposits energy in the active thick sample with one obtained by numerical

volume of the detector, a coincidence is formed integration. In the comparison, a parallel alpha

and deposited energy is added to the alpha particle particle beam was considered (corresponding to a

energy. If cascade consists of n subsequent decays, very large SDD, polar angle y 0) in order to

the alpha particle can be in coincidence with mpn keep the numerical integration tractable. The

particles. Deposited energies of those m particles agreement between the simulated spectrum and

are then added to the alpha particle energy. the one from numerical integration is good (Fig.

The algorithm to calculate the coincidences 2). This conrms the homogeneity of the emission

proceeds as follows: point sampling, which is qualitatively also shown

in Ref. [24]. Equally good agreement was obtained

when the source was assumed to be spherical in

(1) Check that decay routes exist, i.e., transitions shape (results are not shown here).

are available for the present state. If no route is Electron backscattering can be used to examine

found, exit the loop. the quality of electron transport, since back-

(2) Use a random number to select the decay scattering is sensitively depend on continuous

route, i.e., decay type, line energy and nal energy loss and angular deections in elastic

state index. Rutherford scattering events. Electron backscat-

(3) If the emitted particle is an electron, follow it tering coefcients for various elements are com-

through the source and its backing. Determine pared in Table 1. The agreement between the

if the particle travels towards the detector. experimental values and those of the present work

(4) If the particle hits the detector, simulate the

deposited energy.

(5) If particle deposits energy to the detector, a 1

Monte Carlo

coincidence is formed. Add the deposited

0.8 Numerical integration

energy to the alpha particle energy. If the

Relative counts

crease corresponding counters.

(6) If the emitted particle is an electron, emit the 0.4

associated X-ray. Go to (3).

(7) Go to (1). 0.2

0

4 4.2 4.4 4.6 4.8 5

The lifetimes of the excited states are available in Energy (MeV)

the library le. However, when coincidences are

calculated, they are not taken into account. The Fig. 2. Comparison between simulated alpha particle energy

spectrum from a convex source (side thickness 0 mm, central

lifetimes are assumed to be short enough, com- thickness 2 mm, solid black line) with a spectrum obtained by

pared to the integration time of data acquisition numerical integration (dashed grey line) from the same source.

electronics, for a coincidence to be seen. Alpha particles were assumed to travel in parallel tracks.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434 433

Table 1 10000

Comparison between experimental (Exp.) and simulated (MC) Measured

electron backscattering coefcients for various elements when Simulated

1000

E e 30 keV and for normal incidence

Counts

Element C Al Cr Au 100

Exp. [27] 0.060 0.155 0.270 0.521 10

MC [25] 0.042 0.124 0.231 0.502

MC, this work 0.053 0.142 0.253 0.511 1

5200 5250 5300 5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600

In all simulations, the screening model of Nigam et al. [16] was Energy (keV)

used, see Eq. (21).

Fig. 3. Measured (dots) and simulated (solid line) spectrum of

241

Am. The source-detector distance was 5 mm and a detector

is good. However, the results of the present work FWHM of 14 keV was used in the simulation. Detector tailing

parameters were n 0:1 keV1 , m 0:02 keV1 and R 12:0.

are higher than the simulated results of Gueor-

guiev et al. [25]. The difference could be explained

by different calculation of the continuous energy

loss. Gueorguiev et al. used different average 10000

ionisation energy and a three-point difference

Simulated

scheme. The convergence of the present back- 1000 Simulated, no coincidences

scattering calculations was ensured to two sig-

Counts

To investigate the inuence of coincidences,

measured spectrum of 241Am is compared to the 10

simulation. The coincidence summing of alpha

particles with photons and electrons from 237Np is 1

5200 5250 5300 5350 5400 5450 5500 5550 5600

clearly visible as a bump above 5490 keV (Fig. 3).

Energy (keV)

This bump is absent at a large SDD. Since

experimental subshell conversion coefcients for Fig. 4. Simulated spectra of 241Am when coincidences are taken

237 into account (solid line, same as in Fig. 3) and when

Np were not available, the relative yields for

coincidences are ignored (circles). See the caption of Fig. 3

conversion electrons were set as follows: the yield

for simulation parameters.

of the La line was assumed to be 20% and that of

Lb was assumed to be 80%. Fig. 3 illustrates that

simulations are accurately able to explain the

effect of coincidence summing. When the coin- quality is not optimal for high-resolution alpha

cidences are ignored in the simulation, the result- spectrometry. The sources may be considerably

ing spectrum clearly disagrees with the thicker than those obtained from radio-

measurement (Fig. 4). chemical sample treatment and their thickness

may not be uniform. The source may even be an

aerosol lter in which radioactive materials are

7. Discussion deposited. This option is useful when the presence

of alpha particle emitting materials in the lter

The present Monte Carlo simulation code, must be identied rapidly, i.e. alpha particles are

known as AASI, is designed for simulating energy counted directly without prior radiochemical

spectra in alpha spectrometry. The code was sample manipulation [7]. This information may

originally developed for estimating the inuence be of utmost importance should a nuclear incident

of source characteristics on the alpha particle or malicious dispersal of radioactive material into

spectra, for example in the case when the source the environment occur.

ARTICLE IN PRESS

434 T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 550 (2005) 425434

Later development of the code is focused on the [4] J.L. Ferrero, C. Roldan, M.L. Acena, E. Garca-Torano,

development of modelling of the detector and the Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 286 (1990) 384.

effect of alpha-electron and alpha-photon coin- [5] S. Pickering, J. Aerosol Sci. 15 (1984) 533.

[6] C. Roldan, J.L. Ferrero, F. Sanchez, E. Navarro,

cidences on the measured spectra. The code can be M.J. Rodrguez, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 338

easily used for various alpha detectors provided (1994) 506.

that the detector response can be treated as the [7] T. Siiskonen, R. Pollanen, Appl. Radiat. Isot. 60 (2004)

convolution of a Gaussian part of a peak and a 947.

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