DÖME: revitalizing a low-background counting chamber and developing a radon-tight sample holder for gamma-ray spectroscopy measurements

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There was an emerging need at the Nuclear Analysis and Radiography Department of the Centre for Energy Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest to be able to perform low level radioactivity measurements of various samples from in-beam activation and from environmental studies. Important aspects of reusing the low-background chamber called DÖME, which had been unused for some years, were the development of an easily reusable radon-tight sample container and the setup of a measurement system capable of counting extended samples in close-in geometry. As a result of our efforts a special sample container made of HDPE (High-density Polyethylene) was developed, and it is proved that the probability of a radon loss larger than the 2 % of its radioactive decay constant is <95 %. Due to the lack of reference samples, containing the same radionuclides as the unknown sample, the absolute method of measuring the activity concentration of nuclides in the sample had to be applied, which implied the reliable determination of the full-energy peak efficiency. A method called efficiency transfer combined with the correction for true coincidence summing effects is proven to be providing appropriate results and applied.

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Peter Völgyesi thanks the foundation of the “Habilitas” fellowship of the Hungarian Development Bank Plc. (MFB Zrt.) The authors gratefully acknowledge the careful proofreading of J. L. Weil (NARD).

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Correspondence to Zoltán Kis.

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Kis, Z., Völgyesi, P. & Szabó, Z. DÖME: revitalizing a low-background counting chamber and developing a radon-tight sample holder for gamma-ray spectroscopy measurements. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 298, 2029–2035 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-013-2691-8

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  • Gamma-ray spectroscopy
  • Low-background chamber
  • Radon-tight HDPE container
  • Efficiency transfer
  • True coincidence summing