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**Nuclear Fusion and Radiation
**

Homework 6 - Solutions

Radioactivity

**Problem 1: Problem SF 5.1 PROBLEMS
**

1. Consider a stationary nucleus of mass mn in an excited state with energy E ∗ above the ground state. When this nucleus decays to the ground state by gamma decay, the emitted photon has an energy Eγ . (a) By considering the conservation of both energy and momentum of the decay reaction explain why Eγ < E ∗ . (b) Show that the two energies are related by Eγ = mn c2 1+ 2E ∗ −1 m n c2 E∗ 1 − E∗ . 2mn c2

(c) Use an explicit example to verify that the diﬀerence between E ∗ and Eγ is for all practical purposes negligible. Solution: (a) If the excited nucleus is initially at rest, the products of the decay must have zero net linear momentum, i.e., the photon and the ground-state daughter nucleus must travel in opposite directions each with the same amount of linear momentum. The Q-value of the decay reaction is E ∗ and must be equal to the sums of the kinetic energies of the photon and ground-state nucleus. Hence it follows that Eγ < E ∗ , the diﬀerence equal to the kinetic energy of the recoil ground-state nucleus. (b) Conservation of total energy requires mn c2 + E ∗ = mn c2 + En + Eγ , (P5.1)

and conservation of linear momentum (treating the recoil nucleus as a classical particle) requires 0 = Eγ /c − 2mn En . (P5.2)

**Substitute Eq. (P5.1) into Eq. (P5.2) to eliminate En yields
**

2 Eγ + 2mn c2 Eγ − 2mn c2 E ∗ = 0.

1

5-1

(a) If the excited nucleus is initially at rest, the products of the decay must have zero net linear momentum, i.e., the photon and the ground-state daughter nucleus must travel in opposite directions each with the same amount of linear momentum. The Q-value of the decay reaction is E ∗ and must be equal to the sums of the kinetic energies of the photon and ground-state nucleus. Hence it follows that Eγ < E ∗ , the diﬀerence equal to the kinetic energy of the recoil ground-state nucleus. (b) Conservation of total energy requires mn c2 + E ∗ = mn c2 + En + Eγ , (P5.1)

**and conservation of linear momentum (treating the recoil nucleus as a classical particle) requires 0 = Eγ /c −
**

5-2

2mn En .

(P5.2)

**Substitute Eq. (P5.1) into Eq. (P5.2) to eliminate En yields
**

2 Eγ + 2mn c2 Eγ − 2mn c2 E ∗ = 0. Radioactivity

Chap. 5

Solving this quadratic equation for Eγ produces Eγ = mn c2 −1 ± 1+ 2E ∗ m n c2 .

5-1

**Only the + sign yields a positive real value for Eγ so that
**

∗ 1 + 2E 2 − 1 mn c

Eγ = mn c2

Since E ∗ is typically much less than mn√ c2 thousands of MeV, then ∗ 2 deﬁning ≡ (2E )/(mn c ) << 1, we have 1 + = 1 + (1/2) − (1/8) 2 + · · ·, and neglecting terms of order 2 and higher the above result can be approximated by Eγ E∗ 1 − E∗ . 2mn c2 (P5.3)

(c) Consider the decay of the ﬁrst excited state of 60 Co (see Fig. 5.12) which is E ∗ = 1.17 MeV above the ground state. The energy of the emitted gamma ray upon deexcitation is, from Eq. (P5.3), Eγ E∗ 1 − E∗ 2M (60 Co)c2 1.17 MeV 2 × 60 × 936 MeV 1.17 MeV.

= 1.17 MeV 1 −

= 1.17 [1 − 0.000010] MeV

2

The recoil kinetic energy of the ground-state 6 Co nucleus is E(60 Co) = E ∗ − Eγ = 1.17 [0.000010] = 0.0117 keV.

Since E is typically much less than mn√ c thousands of MeV, then deﬁning ≡ (2E ∗ )/(mn c2 ) << 1, we have 1 + = 1 + (1/2) − (1/8) 2 + · · ·, and neglecting terms of order 2 and higher the above result can be approximated by Eγ E∗ 1 − E∗ . 2mn c2 (P5.3)

(c) Consider the decay of the ﬁrst excited state of 60 Co (see Fig. 5.12) which is E ∗ = 1.17 MeV above the ground state. The energy of the emitted gamma ray upon deexcitation is, from Eq. (P5.3), Eγ E∗ 1 − E∗ 2M (60 Co)c2 1.17 MeV 2 × 60 × 936 MeV 1.17 MeV.

= 1.17 MeV 1 −

= 1.17 [1 − 0.000010] MeV

The recoil kinetic energy of the ground-state 6 Co nucleus is E(60 Co) = E ∗ − Eγ = 1.17 [0.000010] = 0.0117 keV.

3

Problem 2: Problem SF 5.2 Radioactivity Chap. 5

5-3

2. The radioisotope 224 Ra decays by α emission primarily to the ground state of 220 Rn (94% probability) and to the ﬁrst excited state 0.241 MeV above the ground state (5.5% probability). What are the energies of the two associated α particles? Solution: For the daughter left in an excited state, the Qvalue of Eq. (5.7) is modiﬁed to increase the rest mass of M (220 Rn) by an amount E ∗ /c2 , namely 86 Qα1 = M (224 Ra) − [M (4 He) 88 2 With the masses in Ap. B we ﬁnd Qα1 = {224.0202020 − [4.00260325 + 220.0113841]} (u) × 931.5 (MeV/u) The kinetic energy of α1 is given by Eq. (5.11), namely Eα1 = Qα1 M (220 Rn) 86 M (220 Rn) + M (4 He) 82 2 5.548 220 = 5.449 MeV. 224 −0.241 MeV = 5.548 MeV. +M (220 Rn) + E ∗ /c2 ] c2 . 86

In a similar manner for alpha decay to the ground state (E ∗ = 0), we have Qα2 = M (224 Ra) − [M (4 He) + M (220 Rn)] c2 88 2 86 = {224.0202020 − [4.00260325 + 220.0113841]} 931.5 (MeV/u) = 5.789 MeV. M (220 Rn) 86 M (220 Rn) + M (4 He) 82 2 220 = 5.686 MeV. 224

The kinetic energy of this alpha particle is Eα2 = Qα2 5.789

3. The radionuclide 41 Ar decays by β − emission to an excited level of 41 K that is 1.293 MeV above the ground state. What is the maximum kinetic energy of the emitted β − particle? Solution: First ﬁnd the Qβ − for this decay from Eq. (5.15) with the atomic masses in Ap. B. The result is Qβ − = M (41 Ar) − [M (41 K) + E ∗ /c2 ] c2 18 19 = [40.9645008 − 40.96182597] × 931.5 4 −1.293 MeV

= 1.199 MeV.

The maximum kinetic energy the beta particle can have equals this Q-value, i.e., (Eβ )max = 1.199 MeV.

λβ + = 0.101 × λ = 0.0269 y−1 . The total decay constant is λ = λβ + + λEC = 0.2664 y−1 .

7. The activity of a radioisotope is found to decrease by 30% in one week. What are the 3: Problem SF 5.7 Problem values of its (a) decay constant, (b) half-life, and (c) mean life? Solution: (a) From the radioactive decay law A(t)/A(0) = exp(−λt), upon solving for t, the time required to reach a speciﬁed value of A(t)/A(0) is A(t) 1 t = − ln . λ A(0) Here we are given A(t = 1 wk)/A(0) = 0.7. From the above result we ﬁnd λ=− 1 ln(0.7) = 0.357 wk−1 = 0.0510 d−1 1 wk = 2.12 × 10−3 h−1 = 5.90 × 10−7 s−1 .

(b) T1/2 = ln 2/λ = 1.18 × 106 s = 326.5 h = 13.6 d = 1.94 wk. (c) t = 1/λ = 1.69 × 106 s = 471 h = 19.6 d = 2.80 wk.

5

from the above equation we have t=− 1 ln(0.05) = 9.34 h. 0.3014 h−1

1/2

9. How many Problem SF 5.9 Problem 4: grams of 32 P are there in a 5 mCi source? Solution: Since the activity A is related to the mass m of a radionuclide source by A ≡ λN = λ mNa , A

and, hence, the mass of the radionuclide is m (g) =

AA . λNa

(P5.4)

From Ap. A the half-life of 32 P is 14.28 d−1 so that λ = ln 2/T1/2 = 5.618 × 10−7 s−1 . Then from Eq. (P5.4) we ﬁnd the 32 P mass is m(32 P) = (5 × 10−3 Ci × 3.7 × 1010 Bq/Ci)(32 g/mol) (5.618 × 10−7 s−1 )(6.022 × 1023 atoms/mol)

= 1.75 × 10−8 g = 17.5 pg.

6

N=

1.200 × 106 A = = 2.44 × 1023 atoms. λ 4.916 × 10−18

11. A very old specimen of wood contained 1012 atoms of 14 C in 1986. (a) How many 14 C atoms did it contain in 9474 B.C.? (b) How many 14 C atoms did it contain 5: Problem Problem in 1986 B.C.? SF 5.11 Solution: For 14 C the half-life is 5730 y so that its decay constant is λ = ln 2/T1/2 = 1.210 × 10−4 y−1 . From the radioactive decay law N (t) = N (0) exp[−λt]. In this problem we identify the year 1986 as t = 0 with earlier times being negative. (a) For t = −1986 − 9474 = −11, 460 y, the number of specimen at 9474 BC is

14

C atoms in the

N (−11, 460 y) = 1012 exp[+1.210×10−4 ×11, 460] = 4.00 × 1012 atoms. (b) For t = −1986−1985 = −3972 y, the number of 14 C atoms in the specimen at 1986 BC is N (−3972 y) = 1012 exp[+1.210 × 10−4 × 3972] = 1.62 × 1012 atoms.

7

**14. Consider the following β − decay chain with the half-lives indicated,
**

210

Pb −→ 210 Bi −→

22 y

210

5.0 d

Po.

A sample contains 30 MBq of 210 Pb and 15 MBq of 210 Bi at time zero. (a) Calculate the activity of 210 Bi at time t = 10 d. (b) If the sample were originally pure 210 Pb, how old would it 5.14 Problem 6: Problem SF have been at time t = 0? Solution: From the half-lives we ﬁnd the decay constants are

5-10

**λP b ≡ λ1 = ln 2/T1/2 = 8.63 × 10−5 d−1 = 9.99 × 10−10 s−1 λBi ≡ λ2 = ln 2/T1/2 = 0.1386 d−1 = 1.605 × 10−6 s−1 .
**

A1 (t) = A1 (0)e−λ1 t A2 (t) = A2 (0)e−λ2 t + λ2 A1 (0) −λ1 t [e − e−λ2 t ]. λ2 − λ1

Ai (t)

Radioactivity

Chap. 5

From Eqs. (5.58) and (5.59) we have (P5.5) (P5.6)

(a) As shown in the ﬁgure to the right, we are given the activities at t = 0 and asked to ﬁnd the activity of the ﬁrst daughter 10 days later. Speciﬁcally, we are given A1 (0) = 30 MBq and A2 (0) = 15 MBq we ﬁnd from Eq. (P5.6) A2 (10 d) = 15e−λ2 10 +

T given r© r

© b i = 2 b

seek i=1

0

t = 10 d

Et

30λ2 [e−λ1 10 − e−λ2 10 ]. λ2 − λ1

= 3.750 + 30.019 [0.99914 − 0.25007] = 26.2 MBq. (b) Here we change our time scale. We are given the parent and daughter activities at some time to (which the problem statement calls t = 0 but we call to ) as shown in the ﬁgure to the right. Specifically, A1 (to ) = 30 MBq and A2 (to ) = 15 Mbq. We then seek, in this new time scale, A1 (0). Also we know A2 (0) = 0. From Eq. (P5.5), A1 (to ) = A1 (0)e−λ1 to from which we obtain A1 (0) = A1 (to )e+λ1 to . Substitute this result into Eq. (P5.6) with A2 (0) = 0 to obtain A2 (to ) = =

T given b © r

Ai (t)

0 to

b

r

i=2 i=1

Et

λ2 A1 (to )eλ1 to −λ1 to [e − e−λ2 to ] λ2 − λ1 λ2 A1 (to ) 8 [1 − e−(λ2 −λ1 )to ]. λ2 − λ1 (P5.7)

Finally, solving Eq. (P5.7) for to and substitution of data gives to = − 1 A2 (to ) λ2 − λ1 ln 1 − λ2 − λ1 A1 (to ) λ2 = 5.00 d.

A2 (10 d) = 15e−λ2 10 +

30λ2 [e−λ1 10 − e−λ2 10 ]. λ2 − λ1

= 3.750 + 30.019 [0.99914 − 0.25007] = 26.2 MBq. (b) Here we change our time scale. We are given the parent and daughter activities at some time to (which the problem statement calls t = 0 but we call to ) as shown in the ﬁgure to the right. Specifically, A1 (to ) = 30 MBq and A2 (to ) = 15 Mbq. We then seek, in this new time scale, A1 (0). Also we know A2 (0) = 0. From Eq. (P5.5), A1 (to ) = A1 (0)e−λ1 to from which we obtain A1 (0) = A1 (to )e+λ1 to . Substitute this result into Eq. (P5.6) with A2 (0) = 0 to obtain A2 (to ) = =

T given b © r

Ai (t)

0 to

b

r

i=2 i=1

Et

λ2 A1 (to )eλ1 to −λ1 to [e − e−λ2 to ] λ2 − λ1 λ2 A1 (to ) [1 − e−(λ2 −λ1 )to ]. λ2 − λ1 (P5.7)

Finally, solving Eq. (P5.7) for to and substitution of data gives to = − 1 A2 (to ) λ2 − λ1 ln 1 − λ2 − λ1 A1 (to ) λ2 = 5.00 d.

9

5-14

Radioactivity

Chap. 5

20. Charcoal found in a deep layer of sediment in a cave is found to have an atomic 14 C/12 C ratio only 30% that of a charcoal sample from a higher level with a known age of 1850 y. What is 5.20 Problem 7: Problem SF the age of the deeper layer? Solution: Let R denote the atomic ratio of 14 C to 12 C. We assume the same initial ratio was incorporated into both layers when they were formed, i.e., Rd (0) = Rh (0). Then the present ratio in the deeper layer to that in the higher layer is Rd (td ) exp(−λtd ) = = e−λ(td −th ) , Rh (th ) exp(−λth ) where th and td are the ages of the higher and deeper layers, respectively. Solving this equation for td gives td = th − Rd (td ) 1 ln λ Rh (th )

For 14 C, λ = ln 2/T1/2 = 1.21 × 10−4 y−1 , and for the given information that R(td )/R(th ) = 0.30 and th = 1850 y, Eq. (P5.8) gives the desired age as td = 1850 − 1 ln(0.30) = 11, 800 y. 1.21 × 10−4

21.

238

Pu, an alpha-particle emitter, has been used as a thermal power source, as described in Table 12.2. What is the energy recoverable as heat per decay? Solution: Pu decays by alpha-particle emission to using Eq. 5.7 and Table B.1, namely Qα /c2

234

238

U. The Q-value is calculated

M (238 Pu) − [M (234 U) + M (4 He)] 92 92 2

Qα = 931.5[238.0495534 − 234.0409456 − 4.0026032497] = 5.593 MeV. Depending on the conﬁguration of the power source, all of this energy which appears as kinetic energy of the products may be dissipated as heat. If only the kinetic energy of the alpha particle is useful, the energy dissipated as heat is given by Eq. 5.11, namely, Eα Qα AU = 5.50 MeV, AU + Aα

10

the value given in Table 12.2.

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