Speaker: Professor Paul Nolan
Most radioactive nuclei decay by emitting gamma radiation. For a given isotopes the energies of the gamma rays emitted are unique. This means that an accurate measurement of the gamma radiation emitted by an unknown isotope allows it to be identified uniquely. There are many different circumstances when the measurement of gamma radiation gives important information. The energies of gamma rays emitted by an excited nucleus gives information on the neutrons and protons that make up the nucleus and on the nuclear shape (spherical or deformed?). The measurement of the gamma radiation from an unknown source allows radioactive material to be identified and its exact nature determined. This has uses in security applications and following incidents such as Chernobyl or Fukushima. Gamma ray emitting isotopes are also widely used in medical diagnostic using imaging modalities including Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT or Gamma Camera). The presentation will cover all of these aspects and will include demonstrations of gamma ray detection.