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See also: ionizing radiation units
) is the SI-derived unit of radioactivity. One Bq is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. The Bq unit is therefore equivalent to s
. The becquerel is named for Henri Becquerel, who shared a Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie for their work indiscovering radioactivity.In a fixed mass of radioactive material, the number of becquerels changes with time. Therefore, a sampleradioactive decay rate is always stated with a timestamp for short-lived isotopes, sometimes after adjustment tosome specific date of interest (in the past or in the future). For example, one might quote a ten-day adjusted figure,that is, the amount of radioactivity that will still be present ten days in the future. This can de-emphasize short-livedisotopes.SI uses the becquerel rather than the second for the unit of activity measure to avoid dangerous mistakes: ameasurement in becquerels is proportional to activity, and thus a more dangerous source of radiation gives a higher reading. A measurement in seconds is inversely proportional.
As any SI unit, Bq can be prefixed; commonly used multiples are kBq (kilobecquerel, 10
Bq), MBq(megabecquerel, 10
Bq), GBq (gigabecquerel, 10
Bq), TBq (terabecquerel, 10
Bq), and PBq (petabecquerel,10
Bq). For practical application, 1 Bq is a small unit; therefore, the prefixes are common. For example, natural potassium (
K) in a typical human body produces 4,000 disintegrations per second, 4 kBq of activity.
Thenuclear explosion in Hiroshima (14 kt or 59 TJ) is estimated to have produced 8×10 Bq (8 YBq, 8yottabecquerel).
Bq versus counts per second
When measuring radioactivity of a sample with a detector, a unit of "counts per second" (cps) or "counts per minute" (cpm) are often used. These units can be converted to the absolute activity of the sample in Bq if oneapplies a number of significant conversions, e.g., for the radiation background, for the detector efficiency, for thecounting geometry, for self-absorption of the radiation in the sample.
Relationship to the curie
The curie (Ci) is an older, non-SI unit of radioactivity equal to the activity of 1 gram of radium-226.The conversion factors are:1 Ci = 3.7×10
Bq1 Ci = 37 GBq1
Ci = 37,000 Bq1 Bq = 2.70×10
2 Bq versus counts per second
3 Relationship to the curie
6 External links
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