Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 276, Issue 3, pp 657–662

A highly flexible, data intensive acquisition system for characterizing low-level decay events


  • A. H. Band
    • Electron and Optical Physics DivisionNational Institute of Standards and Technology
    • Surface and Microanalysis Science DivisionNational Institute of Standards and Technology
  • S. H. Pheiffer
    • Center for Neutron ResearchNational Institute of Standards and Technology

DOI: 10.1007/s10967-008-0614-x

Cite this article as:
Band, A.H., Klouda, G.A. & Pheiffer, S.H. J Radioanal Nucl Chem (2008) 276: 657. doi:10.1007/s10967-008-0614-x


Since the early 1970’s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has maintained a low-level decay, multi-channel counting facility for measuring environmental samples and for pulse distribution studies tied to the behavior of proportional and Geiger-Müller detectors. Pulses have been time stamped and sorted using a hard-wired digital logic interface to discriminate coincidence, anticoincidence, guard and test pulse events; to digitize the pulse-height and rise-time; to monitor specific characteristics of intra-channel and inter-channel events; and to measure microsecond timing between any two events. To enhance event characterization, a computer-based waveform analyzer was added in 1985 to digitize individual pulses. In 2002, a next-generation low-level counting (NG-LLC) system was developed using commercial off-the-shelf electronics. The objective of this paper is to describe the key components of the NG-LLC system. Many of the event parameters previously determined by inflexible digital logic are now calculated in software.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008