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This is the frequency range of gamma radiation which is on my mind as residue from my scintillation detector project. As I ponder this it is remarkable how similar this is to radio measurements, especially the spectrum analyzer.
The detector with a window discriminator does the same thing as a spectrum analyzer except for the frequency range covered.
It works by measuring the peak voltage for each pulse from the detector. This voltage is approximately proportional to the energy of the radiation and the energy of radioactive particles and waves is related to frequency by the DeBroglie wavelength. Essentially, the higher the energy the higher the frequency. So, sorting the pulses according to voltage is the same as sorting them by frequency such as a radio frequency spectrum analyzer does. Also as does the spectrum analyzer the information can be plotted as a histogram (spectrum display) of counts vs energy yielding the energy distribution.
Here’s a link to the displays created by the software I just completed for this project:
Each display pictured is from a different radioactive source. What is very useful about this is it shows a different “fingerprint” for each source. Working backwards, it is possible to identify the source from the display pattern.
The peaks represent the energy peaks which are characteristic of radioactive elements. This goes beyond the similarity to radio work since it is also the same principle used in many scientific analyses such as spectrophotometry in chemistry and astronomy.
Back to radio it is also similar to a graphic equalizer in reverse. Instead of setting the spectral plot this device measures it.
Well, if you have stuck with me so far then I hope the reads were worthwhile. As with many things I found that the deeper I dig into a project such as this the more I realize I don’t know but it is fun to pursue nonetheless.