Calculation of peak-to-total ratios for high purity germanium detectors using Monte-Carlo modeling

  • R. Venkataraman
  • S. Croft
  • W. R. Russ


In order to estimate by calculation the magnitude of the true coincidence summing losses that may be affecting the observed gamma-ray spectrum of a given nuclide, measured using a spectrometer, knowledge of the total detection efficiencies at the gamma-ray energies within the cascades is essential. The total efficiency can be determined from the full energy peak efficiency, provided the peak-to-total ratio is known. For a given high purity germanium (HPGe) detector, one can establish an intrinsic peak-to-total (P/T) efficiency curve using a set of measurements performed with “single” (ideally monoenergetic) gamma-emitting nuclides (e.g., 241Am, 109Cd, 57Co, 113Sn, 137Cs, 65Zn). Some of these nuclides are short lived and so have to be replaced periodically. Moreover, the presence of low energy gamma-rays and X-rays in most of the decay schemes complicate the empirical determination of the P/T ratios. This problem is especially severe if measurements are made using HPGe detectors that have a very thin dead layer. The problems posed by low energy gamma-rays and X-rays can be avoided by using absorbers, but then one has to be careful not to perturb the intrinsic value of the P/T ratio being sought. This paper addresses these problems. Measurement related limitations are avoided if one can use a computational technique instead. In the work presented here, the feasibility of using a Monte-Carlo based technique to determine the P/T ratios at a wide range of energies (60 keV to 2000 keV) is explored. The Monte-Carlo code MCNP (version 4B) is used to simulate gamma-ray spectra from various nuclides. Measured P/T ratios are compared to calculated ratios for several HPGe detectors to demonstrate the generality of the approach. Reasons for observed disagreement between the two are discussed.


HPGe Detector Decay Scheme Peak Efficiency High Purity Germanium Dead Layer 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Akadémiai Kiadó 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Venkataraman
    • 1
  • S. Croft
    • 2
  • W. R. Russ
    • 3
  1. 1.Canberra Industries
  2. 2.Canberra Industries
  3. 3.Canberra Industries

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