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Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575

Correlation techniques for the improvement of signal-to-noise
ratio in measurements with stochastic processes
V. Raghavendra Reddy
a,
*, Ajay Gupta
b
, T. Goverdhan Reddy
a
,
P. Yadagiri Reddy
a
, K. Rama Reddy
a
a
Department of Physics, College of Science, Osmania University, Hyderabad 500 007, India
b
Inter University Consortium for DAE Facilities, Khandwa Road, Indore 452 017, India
Received 6 March 2002; received in revised form 7 January 2003; accepted 24 January 2003
Abstract
An AC modulation technique is described to convert stochastic signal variations into an amplitude variation and its
retrieval through Fourier analysis. It is shown that this AC detection of signals of stochastic processes when processed
through auto- and cross-correlation techniques improve the signal-to-noise ratio; the correlation techniques serve a
similar purpose of frequency and phase filtering as that of phase-sensitive detection. A few model calculations applied to
nuclear spectroscopy measurements such as Angular Correlations, Mossbauer spectroscopy and Pulse Height Analysis
reveal considerable improvement in the sensitivity of signal detection. Experimental implementation of the technique is
presented in terms of amplitude variations of harmonics representing the derivatives of normal spectra. Improved
detection sensitivity to spectral variations is shown to be significant. These correlation techniques are general and can be
made applicable to all the fields of particle counting where measurements are amenable to ‘‘dual modulation’’. The
proposed AC modulation technique may be applied in diverse fields like pulse height analysis in nuclear spectroscopy,
XRD, XRF, RBS, ESCA, positronium resonance, photon counting etc., for enhancing the S=N ratio.
r 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PACS: 76.80
Keywords: Stochastic processes; Correlation functions; Angular correlations; Mossbauer spectroscopy; Dual modulation; Spectral
density and detection sensitivity
1. Introduction
In experiments dealing with particle counting,
measurements are carried out through recording
the count rates as a function of physical para-
meters like angle or energy or external field
variations, etc. In the past, specialised techniques
suitable to each field of spectroscopy were devel-
oped for improving the detection sensitivity
through the enhancement of S=N ratio. For
example, in angular correlation measurements
involving successive emission of gamma rays, the
accidental coincidence rate which is proportional
to the product of count rates in each of the
detectors coincidence along with the resolving time
is a decisive factor in determining the true
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +91-40-701-8951; fax: +91-
40-701-9020.
E-mail address: varimalla@yahoo.com (V.R. Reddy).
0168-9002/03/$ - see front matter r 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/S0168-9002(03)00422-4
coincidence rate forming the signal [1,2]. Similarly,
in Mossbauer spectroscopy, the non-resonant
radiation forms an unavoidable background,
which limits the detection sensitivity in observing
the resonance absorption, in a large number of
cases. Techniques like resonance detectors, ava-
lanche counters and conversion electron spectro-
scopy as well as special configurations of scattering
geometry, etc. have been developed for the
improvement of detection sensitivity in Mossbauer
spectroscopy [3,4]. In all the cases ‘‘background’’
radiation limits the precision to be achieved in
estimating physical parameters as the existing
methods use the DC method of relative variation
of the count rate as a function of the angle or
energy, etc. It is to be noted that the AC
modulation method of detecting analog signals in
the frequency domain before its use in physical
sciences was gainfully employed in radio commu-
nication for its higher sensitivity over the DC
detection method [5]. This technique known as
coherent or phase-sensitive detection is now widely
used in several areas with higher detection
sensitivity [6]. It was shown that improvement in
the estimation of relative power change
DP=PE10
À10
could be achieved in several areas
of measurements which is almost impossible in DC
methods of measurements [7]. However, the DC
detection reproduces line shapes that are almost
free of distortions but the signal detection sensi-
tivity is very poor due to the presence of inherent
unavoidable noise which generally spreads over a
large frequency bandwidth. A very narrow noise
bandwidth can be made possible by converting
signal variations into amplitude variations by
modulation at fixed frequency f
m
: The AC signal
measurement at the modulation frequency filters
the noise to a great extent and improves the S=N
ratio, resulting in improved sensitivity. Extensive
theoretical studies on the effect of AC modulation
on Lorentzian (or Gaussian) shaped lines in
Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) spectroscopy
[8,9] showed that the coherent detection output
(a) at the first harmonic frequency f
m
is an AC
signal with its amplitude proportional to the
differential of the original Lorentzian line and (b)
at the second harmonic frequency 2f
m
is an AC
signal with its amplitude proportional to the
second differential of the original Lorentzian line,
etc. These aspects of highest sensitivity of detec-
tion as well as the modulation line broadening and
line sharpening techniques are being exploited to
the fullest extent in ESR spectroscopy [10].
A few theoretical studies were made for achiev-
ing the improvement of S=N ratio in stochastic
processes also [11–13]. The approach in these cases
involved converting count rate of the stochastic
process into analog signal with the hope of
implementing analog phase lock technique
through dual modulation. But, various experi-
mental limitations of analog phase-sensitive detec-
tion method as applied to stochastic processes
could not be made functional for making it a
viable technique [14].
Having gone through unsuccessful attempts
with frequency domain analog technique of
phase-sensitive detection, we have undertaken an
approach of digital signal processing techniques
involving the concepts of correlations applied to
stochastic processes as the nuclear spectroscopy
originates inherently from stochastic processes. It
is shown that the correlation techniques are
equivalent to phase-sensitive frequency filtering
and it is the best means of retrieving the signal
masked by noise. In Section 2 the equivalence
between correlation analysis and frequency and
phase filtering will be established to gain con-
fidence in applying correlation methods as a means
for filtering the noise. Section 3 contains model
calculations for the purpose of analytic investiga-
tion of various aspects related to S=N improve-
ment. Experimental realisations along with results
are presented in Sections 4 and 5 contain conclu-
sions and implications of the technique in particle/
photon spectroscopy.
2. Correlation and filtering
Consider a measurement function f ðtÞ defined as
a linear sum of the signal sðtÞ and the random
noise nðtÞ expressed as f ðtÞ ¼ sðtÞ þ nðtÞ; where the
extraction of a periodic signal sðtÞ buried in the
function f ðtÞ is to be carried out. Let us assume
that a reference function cðtÞ of the same frequency
as that of the signal to be detected is available. The
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 560
cross-correlation of measurement function f ðtÞ
with the reference signal cðtÞ; by definition is given
by [15].
j
fc
ðtÞ ¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
½sðtÞ þ nðtފcðt ÀtÞ dt
¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
½sðtÞcðt À tފ dt
þ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
½nðtÞcðt À tފ dt ð1Þ
¼ u
sc
ðtÞ þu
nc
ðtÞ ð2Þ
where j
12
ðtÞ defines the correlation between any
two functions. As the reference function cðtÞ is
periodic by choice and uncorrelated with the
random noise nðtÞ; therefore, the correlation of
the noise with a periodic reference function is zero.
Hence,
j
fc
ðtÞEj
sc
ðtÞ as j
nc
ðtÞE0 for large t:
Since the signal sðtÞ is periodic and similar to that
of reference function cðtÞ; therefore, it follows that
the cross-correlation, f
fc
ðtÞ; of the measured
function f ðtÞ with the reference function cðtÞ is
not only a periodic function with periodicity of the
reference function in the time domain but also
defines the signal amplitude variation rich in signal
content.
Similarly, when the reference signal is not
available even then the noise filtering can be
achieved through the definition of auto-correlation
function of f ðtÞ as
j
ff
ðtÞ ¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
f ðtÞf ðt ÀtÞ dt
¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
½sðtÞ þ nðtފ
 ½ðsðt ÀtÞ þ nðt À tފdt ð3Þ
¼ j
ss
ðtÞ þj
sn
ðtÞ þ j
ns
ðtÞ þ j
nn
ðtÞ: ð4Þ
As the signal sðtÞ and the noise nðtÞ are
uncorrelated, we find that the cross-correlation
of noise and the signal tends to zero, i.e.,
j
ns
ðtÞ ¼ j
sn
ðtÞ ¼ 0 for t large
and
j
nn
ðtÞ-0 for T-N: ð5Þ
Therefore, it follows that the auto-correlation
function, j
ff
ðtÞ; preserves periodicity of the signal
representing the characteristics of the original
signal function. From the Weiner-Khinchin [16]
theorem it follows that
j
ff
ðtÞ3F
ff
ðoÞ
¸
¸
¸
¸
2
¼ pS
ss
ðoÞ þ pS
nn
ðoÞ
where S
ss
ðoÞ and S
nn
ðoÞ are signal and noise
spectral densities evaluated over a finite interval of
time.
To establish the relationship between correla-
tion and filtering, consider two functions f
1
ðtÞ and
f
2
ðtÞ: Defining the Fourier transform of f
1
ðtÞ as
f
1
ðtÞ3F
1
ðoÞ and that of f
2
ðtÞ as f
2
ðtÞ3F
2
ðoÞ; it is
easy to show that f
2
ðÀtÞ3F
2
ðÀoÞ:
The convolution function r
12
of f
1
ðtÞ and f
2
ðÀtÞ;
by definition, is given by [15]
r
12
ðtÞ ¼ f
1
ðtÞ#f
2
ðÀtÞ
¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
f
1
ðtÞf
2
ðÀðt À tÞÞ dt
¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
f
1
ðtÞf
2
ðt ÀtÞ dt ð6Þ
and its Fourier transform is given by
r
12
ðtÞ3F
1
ðoÞF
2
ðÀoÞ:
The cross-correlation of f
1
ðtÞ and f
2
ðtÞ; following
Eq. (1) is given by
j
12
ðtÞ ¼ Lim
T-N
1
T
_
þT=2
ÀT=2
f
1
ðtÞf
2
ðt À tÞ dt
3F
1
ðoÞF
2
ðÀoÞ: ð7Þ
From the results of Eqs. (6) and (7) it is seen
that the operation of cross-correlation on func-
tions e
1
ðtÞand e
2
ðtÞ is equivalent to the convolu-
tion of e
1
ðtÞ and e
2
ðÀtÞ function and its Fourier
transform is the multiplication of F
1
ðoÞ and
F
2
ðÀoÞ: Thus, the cross-correlation function
j
12
ðtÞ in the t-domain can be visualised as shown
in Fig. 1. Alternately, the signal F
1
ðoÞ applied to a
system with transfer function F
2
ðÀoÞ gives its
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 561
output as F
1
ðoÞF
2
ðÀoÞ: It is seen that the cross-
correlation between f
1
ðtÞ and f
2
ðtÞ may be affected
by applying the signal f
1
ðtÞ to the input terminals
of a linear system with transfer function F
2
ðÀoÞ as
shown in Fig. 2. When the f
2
ðtÞ represents a
monochromatic reference signal cðtÞ given by [17]
cðtÞ ¼ c
0
e
io
0
t
32pC
0
dðo À o
0
Þ ð8Þ
then this operation essentially represents filtering
with a transfer function CðÀoÞ ¼ CðoÞ represent-
ing the system with output as
FðoÞ ¼ 2pF
1
ðo
0
ÞC
0
dðo À o
0
Þ ð9Þ
which attenuates all the frequency amplitudes
except the one at o ¼ o
0
: The output signal in
the time domain, therefore, consists of a signal
amplitude F
1
ðo
0
Þ with frequency o ¼ o
0
: It is
evident that the operation of cross-correlation in
the time domain is equivalent to frequency filtering
in the frequency domain. Therefore, the process of
cross-correlation may be construed as filtering the
noise in the entire region of frequency except at the
signal frequency of o ¼ o
0
:
Finite measuring time effects can be evaluated
by taking time average over a portion (ÀT=2; T=2)
of a random process. When the measuring time
interval T is finite, the reference function cðÀtÞ ¼
cos o
0
t can be expressed as a gate function
multiplied by cos o
0
t and shifted by ÀT=2
(Fig. 3(i)). From Fourier analysis it follows (mod-
ulation theorem) that the windowed function
becomes a sampling function cðoÞ shifted by
7o
0
(Fig. 3(ii)), i.e.,
j
fc
ðtÞ ¼
1
T
_
T=2
ÀT=2
f ðtÞcðt ÀtÞ dt
32pFðoÞ
sin ðoT=2Þ
oT
: ð10Þ
The cross-correlation of eðtÞ with cðtÞ over a
finite interval (ÀT; 0) is thus equivalent to filtering
in the vicinity of 7o
0
and attenuating the
remaining frequencies with a bandwidth equal to
1=T as per the filtering by the ‘‘sinc’’ function.
As an example consider Poisson stochastic
process like the process involved in nuclear
radiation emission/absorption measurements. The
auto-correlation function for the Poisson stochas-
tic process of unit impulses defining the noise
function nðtÞ with mean count rate of l is given by
[16]
j
nn
ðtÞ ¼ l
2
þldðtÞ: ð11Þ
Thus, the spectral density S
nn
ðoÞ is given by
j
nn
ðtÞ3SðoÞ ¼
2pA
2
l
2
a
2
dðoÞ þ
Al
a
2
þ o
2
ð12Þ
where A is a constant representing pulse height
and a the pulse decay constant defining the
detector response function [16]. It may be noted
that the first term of Eq. (12) represents a large
magnitude at o ¼ 0 proportional to the square of
the count rate and the second term with much
smaller in magnitude varies slowly with frequency
for o > 0: Since a pulse decay rate aE10
6
–10
7
/s,
the frequency dependence of the spectral density
CROSS-CORRELATOR
f
1
(t)
f
2
(t)
ϕ
12
(τ)
Fig. 1. Time domain filter.
f
2
(-t)
F
2
(-ω)
f
1
(t)
F
1
(ω)
ρ
12
( )
F
1
(ω)F
2
(-ω)
τ
Fig. 2. Frequency domain filter.
Fig. 3. (a) The reference signal cðÀtÞ multiplied by gate
function and (b) sampling function.
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 562
SðoÞ at low frequencies even up to 10
6
Hz, is
meagre and almost frequency independent.
For the purpose of understanding the filtering
action of the correlation process, Poisson impulses
generated by nuclear detector system was recorded
as a sequence XðnÞ in the Multi Channel Scaling
(MCS) mode. A sequence YðnÞ is defined as a sum
of the noise XðnÞ and an harmonic signal of
amplitude ‘‘a’’ as
YðnÞ¼ Noise þ Signal ¼XðnÞ þ a cosð2pn D
*

and the YðnÞ is displayed for the first half as the
sequence with amplitude a ¼ 50 (see Fig. 4(i)). The
spectral density of the sequence YðnÞ obtained
through the use of FFT algorithm is shown in
Fig. 4(ii), where the S=NE1: Further, the auto-
correlation j
yy
ðf Þ of the sequence YðnÞ was
obtained as [18]
u
yy
ðjÞ ¼
2
N

N=2
i¼1
YðiÞYði þ j À 1Þ
for j ¼ 1; 2; 3yN=2 with N ¼ 800 ð13Þ
and the FFT of the auto-correlation function
representing the spectral density is shown in
Fig. 4(iii) to illustrate that the auto-correlation
process is capable of filtering the noise except in
the region of signal frequency probably with a
window width of 1=T: This example is an
illustration of the fact that the noise spectral
density is almost zero at all frequencies except
around the signal frequency, which is also small.
From the foregoing results it is seen that one
may also expand the cross-correlation sequence
j
yc
ðtÞ as a discrete Fourier series in terms of the
fundamental and its harmonics of the reference
signal cðtÞ and in which case it is easy to realise
that the evaluation of discrete Fourier series
coefficients is equivalent to perfect ‘‘frequency
and phase’’ filtering. Thus, the correlation techni-
ques along with Fourier analysis as applied to
stochastic processes of signals buried in noise also
improve the S=N ratio.
To determine the amplitude of the sinusoid
buried in Poisson noise, correlation techniques
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400
2300
2400
2500
2600
2700
time (channels)
c
o
u
n
t
s
(i)
0
0.5
1
0
0.5
1
1.5
x 10
-4
frequency (w)
frequency (w)
n
o
r
m
a
l
i
z
e
d

S
(
w
)
n
o
r
m
a
l
i
z
e
d

S
(
w
)
(ii)
(iii)
Fig. 4. (i) Harmonic signal corrupted with noise at S=NE1; (ii) spectral density of the function f ðtÞ=Noise+Signal; (iii) spectral
density obtained through auro-correlation of the function f :
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 563
were used for noise filtering and the FFT for the
determination of the signal amplitude. Results are
summarised in Table 1 for illustrating the ampli-
tude variation with data length and the method
used for the amplitude retrieval.
Having illustrated the basic principle of noise
reduction technique, a few examples of nuclear
spectroscopy such as Mossbauer resonance, per-
turbed angular correlations, angular distribution
of radiation and pulse height analysis are con-
sidered in detail through the ‘‘dual modulation’’ of
the process and by applying correlation and
Fourier techniques for data reduction resulting in
the enhanced S=N ratio.
3. Enhancement of detection sensitivity-simulation
studies
In almost all the experiments involving particle
counting, signal estimations are made through DC
detection by count rate measurement. In such
measurements there is no way of isolating the
background which is also a Poisson stochastic like
the signal statistic. However, modulation of the
signal even if it is a stochastic process, at a
frequency e
m
allows experiments to be carried out
against unmodulated background. In the preced-
ing discussion it was shown that the stochastic
processes are amenable to digital signal processing
involving auto- and cross-correlation techniques.
Therefore, use of digital signal processing methods
can be used to enhance the signal detection
sensitivity, as the correlation techniques in the
digital domain are similar to coherent detection
methods in the analog domain. In the following,
the interesting aspects of foregoing analysis are
applied to a few fields of nuclear spectroscopy for
illustrating the utility of the proposed technique.
3.1. Mossbauer resonance
In Mossbauer resonance the transmitted gamma
ray intensity through a resonance absorber reach-
ing the detector can be made to depend on dual
Doppler modulation such as ‘‘fast’’ AC velocity
modulation over a slowly varying linear velocity
modulation of the source [14]. Correlation analysis
of the transmitted gamma ray flux at each velocity
setting would give characteristic amplitude modu-
lated transmission whose amplitude depends upon
slope of the normal absorber characteristic func-
tion. But, the non-resonant radiation has no such
dependence and contributes very little to the AC
signal amplitude.
For the purpose of analysis through simulation
studies, let us consider the resonance absorption
for Mossbauer gamma rays as a function of
incident gamma energy expressed as [19]
IðEÞ ¼ 1 À
ðg=2Þ
2
ðg=2Þ
2
þ ðE À E
0
Þ
2
_ _
N
0
þ N
B
ðBackground countsÞ ð14Þ
where N
0
¼ s
0
f
t
N
t
and f
t
¼ f
source
 f
absorber
is the
total recoil-free fraction for the resonant absorp-
tion with
E ¼ E
0
þ E
D
¼ E
0
þ E
0
þ E
0
v
c
where v ¼ v
0
t
t
0
À
1
2
_ _
with t
0
XtX0:
For the purpose of noise filtering through
correlation analysis, an additional Doppler mod-
ulation at well-defined frequency f
m
such as
v
m
sin 2pe
m
t can be introduced for the velocity
modulation termed as AC modulation. This
additional AC modulation transforms the reso-
nance absorption intensity Iðv; v
m
Þ into a compli-
cated function represented as
Iðv; v
m
Þ ¼
N
0
ðv þ v
m
sin 2pf
m

2
=ðg=2Þ
2
1 þ ½ðv þ v
m
sin 2pf
m

2
=ðg=2Þ
2
Š
þ N
B
Table 1
Retrieval of harmonic amplitude buried in noise
a
Method used Amplitude with
N ¼ 400 data
points (for 20
trials)
Amplitude with
N ¼ 800 data
points (for 20
trials)
Fourier 50.971.6 50.371.3
Auto correlation 51.471.7 50.371.4
Cross correlation 50.571.6 50.271.2
a
Assumed input amplitude of 50 units at S=NE1
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 564
with v
m
being the velocity amplitude of the
‘‘harmonic modulation’’ under the condition that
the linear scan frequency, 1=t
0
; is much lower than
the modulation frequency [14], i.e., 1=t
0
5f
m
and
the full width at half maximum is expressed in
terms of Doppler velocity.
The absorption intensity Iðv; v
m
Þ can be Fourier
analysed and this process is equivalent to the
process of cross-correlation analysis. Hence, the
Fourier series analysis of the absorption intensity
can be represented as
IðvÞ ¼I
0
½a
0
þ

N
n¼1
fa
n
ðg; v; v
m
Þsin n2pf
m
t
þ b
n
ðg; v; v
m
Þcos n2pf
m
tgŠ ð15Þ
where I
0
is the effective absorption for resonant
gamma rays with a
n
and b
n
as Fourier amplitudes
and the amplitude a
1
would sample the first
derivative of the absorption function, a
2
its second
derivative, etc., while I
0
a
0
still represents the
normal absorption.
The simulation of Mossbauer spectra with 256
normal data points are obtained with the help of
analytic Lorentzian curve and the Poisson number
generator algorithm for an assumed mean count
rate N
0
(resonance) and N
B
(background). The
harmonic AC velocity modulation is introduced to
be ‘‘v
m
sin 2pf
m
t’’. The MATLAB function
poissrnd(lambda) is used for generating the
Poisson process [18] for N
0
ðjÞ and N
B
ðjÞ with an
assumed values for mean N
0
and N
B
mean for j ¼
1; 2; y; 256: To be specific, each velocity (or
channel) in the normal method of absorption
experiments is divided into 1024 data points and a
8 Hz sine wave is used for AC modulation with 8
cycles as a data length which gives a phase
resolution of 360 Â8/1024=2.8

.
For the purpose of correlation studies the
simulated normal Mossbauer spectral data point
generated at count rate of N
0
ðjÞ gets divided by
1024 to form mean count rate n
0
¼ N
t
ðjÞ=1024 for
the generation of 1024 Poisson distributed random
counts nðjÞ: The 1024 random data points obtained
by taking, for example, n
B
¼ N
B
ðjÞ=1024 and
generating 1024 data set of n
B
ðiÞ through random
number generator for defining the function f
i
ðjÞ
with i varying from 1 to 1024 forms data set at a
jth velocity which is given by
f
i
ðjÞ ¼
n
0
ðiÞ v
0
j
256
À
1
2
_ _
þ v
m
sin 2pf
m
iD
_ _
2
=ðg=2Þ
2
1 þ ð2=gÞ
2
v
0
j
256
À
1
2
_ _
þ v
m
sin 2pf
m
iD
_ _
2
þ n
B
ðiÞ: ð16Þ
The Fourier amplitudes a
0
and a
1
at jth velocity
are evaluated as
a
0
ðjÞ ¼
1
1024

1024
i¼1
f
i
ðjÞ
and
a
1
ðjÞ ¼
2
1024
½

1024
i¼1
f
i
ðjÞsin ð2pf
m
iDފ: ð17Þ
Fig. 5 shows a particular result of the calcula-
tions on the Mossbauer line to illustrate the noise
filtering power of the proposed AC detection
method along with DC signal I
0
a
0
ðjÞ: The differ-
ential amplitude a
i
ðjÞ is not properly normalised as
the step width calibration is not taken into account
and the results presented are relative values only.
The same procedure was adopted in all the
following calculations as the step-width calibration
is different for different physical modulation
parameters depending on the type of application
such as Mossbauer resonance, perturbed angular
correlation, etc. The linear slope seen in Fig. 5(iv)
is an artefact introduced due to computational
error while taking initial value for a
i
: The linear
slope is found to be varying with the nature of
input data and it is being corrected while estimat-
ing Mossbauer parameters through least-squared
analysis (shown in Fig. 10).
The calculations are carried out for different
noise levels, relative absorption, modulation
depths and frequencies. The results of modulation
depth variations confirm the line shape broadening
with the increase of depth of modulation [7]. The
modulation depth of v
m
¼ 2g
nat
units is found to
be an optimal value for highest sensitivity of
detection. The 8 cycles of harmonic modulation at
any velocity ‘‘vðjÞ’’ could be optimised for the
calculation, even though 4 cycles were found to be
sufficient to retrieve the signal shape.
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 565
All the Mossbauer experimental parameters
like line width, line position and f -factor (or the
area under the resonance absorption curve) can be
derived from the differential absorption data.
It is seen that the line position can be derived
from the zero crossing of the differential
absorption data. To evaluate the f -factor and
the line width when the depth of modulation v
m
which perturbs the resonance absorption, one
needs a detailed theoretical analysis and it can be
shown that for lorentzian line shapes, the max-
imum (or minimum) value of the differential
amplitude a
1
for a given modulation depth v
m
is
given by [7]
a
1
¼
72ð1=bÞ
2
ðv
m
=bÞ
f3ðv
m
=bÞ
2
þ 8 þ ½ðv
m
=bÞ
2
þ 4Š
3=2
g
1=2
ð18Þ
where the b is the natural line width related to
FWHM as g ¼ O3b: Further, the relation between
the natural line width b and the observed line
width b(obs) is given by [7]
bðobsÞ ¼ b
v
m
b
_ _
2
þ5 À 2 4 þ
v
m
b
_ _
2
_ _
1=2
_
_
_
_
_
_
1=2
: ð19Þ
The above two relations may be used for the
evaluation of the depth of modulation and the
natural line width b: If the line width b is known
then any one of the above equations can be used
for estimating the modulation depth. This result
would enable the velocity transducer calibration
from known input AC voltage amplitude used as a
reference signal for the velocity control servo
system.
From Eqs. (18) and (19) it is seen that the
observed peak separation depends upon the depth
of modulation and the line gets broadened by the
AC modulation. It can be shown that the
amplitude a
1
increases linearly with the depth of
modulation v
m
for v
m
ob and, therefore, the area
50 100 150 200 250
7500
8000
8500
9000
9500
channel (velocity) channel (velocity)
c
o
u
n
t
s

p
e
r

u
n
i
t

t
i
m
e
c
o
u
n
t
s

p
e
r

u
n
i
t

t
i
m
e (i)
50 100 150 200 250
50 100 150 200 250
channel (velocity) channel (velocity)
50 100 150 200 250
-400
-200
0
200
400
600
(ii)
-15
-10
-5
0
5
r
e
l
.
a
b
s
o
r
p
t
i
o
n
(
a
r
b
.
u
n
i
t
s
)
(iv)
-0.5
0
0.5
1
r
e
l
.

a
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e

(iii)
Fig. 5. Simulated Mossbauer spectra for the normal and dual modulation: (i) computer simulated Mossbauer absorption spectrum; (ii)
derivative spectrum of the data given in (i); (iii) the first harmonic amplitude spectrum following the cross-correlation technique, (iv)
integral of first harmonic amplitude spectrum obtained from the data of (iii).
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 566
evaluated on the basis of differential method
becomes a function of the modulation depth v
m
:
In the preceding section, it was shown that the
Fourier amplitude I
0
a
0
reproduces the Mossbauer
absorption spectrum and its area A
0
for equal
sampling interval [nðjÞ À nðj À 1Þ] of the velocity is
given by
A
0
¼ ½v
j
ðiÞ À vðj À 1ފ

m
j¼1
a
0
ðjÞ: ð20Þ
The area obtained through I
0
a
0
ðjÞ data is weakly
dependent of v
m
; and hence A
0
can be construed to
be independent of v
m
; the depth of modulation.
The double integration of the differential curve
also gives the area A
1
but this result is strongly
dependent on the depth of modulation. For a
given v
m
; the area A
1
is given by
A
1
¼ ½vðjÞ À vðj À 1ފ
2

m
j¼1
ja
1
ðjÞ ð21Þ
and the proportionality factor C where A
0
¼ CA
1
gives the calibration factor for the evaluation of
the f -factor.
Based on the above analysis, it is thus seen that
there is no ambiguity in evaluating all the
Mossbauer parameters including the modulation
depth from the differential measurement through
AC modulation technique. In fact the line posi-
tions correspond to zero crossing which are
independent of the modulation depth.
3.2. Directional correlations
Measurements of nuclear g2g; a2g and b2g
angular correlations involve the true coincidence
counting rates of particles in the presence of
chance coincidence rates. The true and chance
coincidence rates follow the same stochastic
process and there is no way of separating one
from the other in the conventional methods of DC
detection. However, the true coincidence count
rates are functions of physical variables like the
angle between particle detectors, extra nuclear
fields, etc., where as the chance coincidence count
rates are uniformly distributed at all angles and at
all times. The true coincidence rates get altered
when the correlation variable is modulated ex-
ternally at a fixed frequency e
m
and the data
processing through cross- and auto-correlation
methods filters also effects of chance coincidence
rates and offer the methods of retrieving the
harmonic amplitude representing the differential
of the original correlation function and its spectral
density, respectively. This AC method of signal
detection has the power of enhancing the S=N
ratio.
3.2.1. Determination of nuclear g-factor of the
excited state
A general expression for the angular correlation
function in the presence of interaction for nuclear
decay by gamma rays and the extra nuclear static
perturbations due to magnetic fields, etc., acting
on the intermediate state is given by [20]
Wðy; t; BÞ ¼

A
k
ð1ÞA
k
ð2ÞG
kk
ðtÞP
k
ðcos yÞ ð22Þ
where W is the angular correlation function, A
k
ð1Þ
and A
k
ð2Þ are the correlation coefficients and
G
kk
ðtÞ the usual attenuation function. The angular
correlation function becomes particularly simple
when the radiation detectors are in the X2Y plane
and the magnetic filed B is directed along the Z-
axis. The effects of this magnetic perturbation can
be worked out in detail and the final expression
can be written as [21]
Wðy; t; BÞ ¼1 þ b
2
cos 2ðy À o
B

þ b
4
cos 4ðy À o
B
tÞ: ð23Þ
A convenient geometry adopted for this correla-
tion measurement consists of constant delay
(t ¼ T) between the successive emission of gam-
ma-one and gamma-two, the constant angle y ¼
3p=4 and the variable magnetic field. Eq. (23)
under the conditions defined becomes
Wðy; T; BÞ ¼ 1 À b
2
sin 2o
B
T À b
4
cos 4o
B
T ð24Þ
where o
B
T ¼ Àm
N
gB=_ is the precession fre-
quency of the intermediate state nuclear magnetic
moment. The DC magnetic field B for the purpose
of AC detection is assumed to vary slowly and
linearly as BðtÞ ¼ B
0
ðt=t
0
Þ where t
0
assumed to be
fairly large (of the order of minutes). A small
modulating AC field B
m
sinð2pe
m
tÞ is superim-
posed on the ‘‘DC magnetic field’’ as
B ¼ Bðt=t
0
Þ þ B
m
sin2pe
m
t under the constraint
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 567
of t
0
b1=e
m
and B
0
bB
m
: Under this condition of
dual modulation of the magnetic field, the
correlation function defined at Eq. (24) becomes
Wðy; t; BÞ ¼1 À b
2
sin ð2o
B
Tt=t
0
Þ þ 2o
B
T
B
m
B
0
sin 2pf
m
t
_ _
Àb
4
cos ð4o
B
Tt=t
0
Þ þ 4o
B
T
B
m
B
0
sin 2pf
m
t
_ _
:
The measured correlation function should con-
tain the effects of true and the chance coincidence
count rates. For the purpose of system identifica-
tion we consider the measured correlation function
‘‘f ’’ to be
f ðBÞ ¼Wð3=4p; T; BÞN
0
ðtrue coincidence rateÞ
þ N
B
ðchance coincidence rateÞ ð25Þ
The data simulation and analysis is carried out
in the format specified in the preceding example.
The MATLAB function poissrnd(lambda) gener-
ates N
0
ðjÞ and N
B
ðjÞ for j ¼ 1; 2; y with an
assumed mean values as N
t
and N
B
: This process
of generating N
0
ðjÞ and N
B
ðjÞ gives the normal DC
detection in any measurement at each one of the
data points (normal).
For the purpose of AC detection we define n
s
¼
N
0
ðjÞ=800 and n
B
¼ N
B
ðjÞ=800 as mean values at
any given field and random number generator
gives n
0
ðiÞ and n
B
ðiÞ for i varying from 1 to 800.
The AC detected signal amplitude at the jth
magnetic field value is given by
f
i
ðjÞ ¼ 1 À b
2
sin yðj=100Þ þ y
B
m
B
0
sin 2pf
m
iD
_ _ _
Àb
4
cos 2yðj=100Þ þ 2y
B
m
B
0
sin 2pf
m
iD
_ __
 n
0
ðiÞg þ n
B
ðiÞ ð26Þ
where y ¼ 2o
B
T in radians with B
0
¼ 1 T,
o
B
¼ 10:5 MHz, the delay T ¼ 3:75 Â 10
À5
s and
B
m
=B
0
¼ d
m
defines the modulation depth
The amplitudes f
i
form a data set of 800 data
points at each j of 100 values. The Fourier
amplitudes at the modulation frequency are
evaluated by projecting the f ðjÞf¼ f
1
ðjÞ; f
2
ðjÞyg
on to the modulation frequency using FFT
algorithm. The procedure used here is similar to
the one employed in the preceding example. The
AC signal amplitude a
1
; obtained for each setting
of the DC magnetic field, forms the differential of
the original angular correlation function.
For the purpose of numerical evaluation, the
nuclear transition 0-2-0 of the g2g angular
correlation in Pd
106
with b
2
¼ 0:5 and b
4
¼ 0:5
and Eq. (26) has been used. The harmonic
amplitude a
1
at e
m
calculated from the cross-
correlation function f is plotted in Fig. 6. For the
purpose of comparison the results expected from
DC detection method are shown for the angular
correlation function and its derivative are shown
in the same figure. It is found that the depth of
modulation does not produce much distortion as
the angular correlation function contains harmo-
nic functions. Details on the extraction of g-values
can be worked out for any detailed planned
experiment.
3.2.2. Directional and polarisation correlation
The angular correlations of g2g; a2g and b2g
are measured in coincidence experiments for the
determination of multipolarity of gamma transi-
tions, momentum dependence of b-decay matrix
elements and orientation polarisation of nuclei,
etc. The variation of angle in the DC detection
method is limited to 0pypp; which can be
automated with a period of several minutes.
Repetition of this variation over 0pypp is
equivalent to time averaging for S=N enhance-
ment. The angular correlation function WðyÞ [22–
24] even in these cases still retains the same form as
given in the preceding section, i.e.,
WðyÞ ¼

A
k
ð1ÞA
k
ð2ÞP
k
ðcos yÞ:
To implement the AC detection, the angle y is
modulated as y ¼ y
0
ðt=t
0
Þ þ ðy
m
=2Þsinð2pe
m
tÞ;
0pypp; where y represents the angle between
the detectors and the harmonic variation of one of
the detectors with a few cycles per second can be
implemented in practice. Thus, the measurable
function of correlation can be written as
f ðy; y
m
; sin o
m
tÞ ¼Wðy; y
m
; sin 2

f
m

 N
0
ðtrue coincidence rateÞ
þ N
B
ðchance coincidence rateÞ
where WðyÞ ¼ 1 þ b
2
cos 2y þ b
4
cos 4y with b
2
¼
0:5 and b
4
¼ 0:5 for the 0-2-0 transition as
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 568
considered earlier. Therefore,
f
i
ðjÞ ¼½1 þ 0:5 cos fðxj=100Þ þ y sin 2pf
m
iDg
þ 0:5 cos f2xj=100Þ þ 2y sin 2pf
m
iDgŠ
 n
0
ðiÞ þ n
B
ðiÞ ð27Þ
where x ¼ 2y
0
and y ¼ xy
m
=ð2y
0
Þ
The data processing for cross- and auto-
correlation of the function f
i
ðjÞ; yields result with
the enhanced S=N: As per the procedure adopted
in the preceding examples, the Fourier analysis of
the cross-correlation function for the in-phase
component at the modulation frequency e
m
gives
the amplitude a
1
and these results are similar to
those given in Fig. 6 and hence the graphical
presentations are not given. In general the depth of
modulation d
m
¼ B
m
=B
0
or d
m
¼ y
m
=y
0
in these
cases does not seem to affect the shape of the
correlation function being measured. It is noted
that the correlation analysis of stochastic processes
through AC modulation technique improves the
sensitivity of detection even in the absence of
background chance coincidence rates.
3.3. Pulse height analysis
The conventional PHA spectrum was generated
by considering it to be the combination of
decreasing count rate, initially by terminating at
zero crossing of the horizontal scale and two
Gaussian lines centred at different channel num-
bers. The simulated spectrum was synthesised
using Poisson random number generator. The
normal pulse height spectrum was modelled to be
AC modulated and the resulting spectrum was
analysed for Fourier amplitudes a
0
and a
1
: The
simulation and the model calculations were very
0 50 100
1
1.05
1.1
1.15
1.2
1.25
x 10
4
magnetic field (arb.units)
0 50 100
magnetic field (arb.units)
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(i)
-400
-200
0
200
400
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(ii)
20 40 60 80 100
-10
0
10
20
magnetic field (arb.units)
20 40 60 80 100
magnetic field (arb.units)
(iv)
-2
-1
0
1
2
(iii)
Fig. 6. Simulated perturbed angular correlation pattern for the nuclear g-factor determination by constant delay, constant angle and
variable magnetic field method: (i) computer simulated perturbed angular correlation function; (ii) derivative of the perturbed function
given in (i); (iii) the first harmonic amplitude function following the cross-correlation technique; (iv) integral of the first harmonic
amplitude spectrum obtained from data given in (iii).
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 569
similar to one discussed in the preceding Sections
3.1 and 3.2. The results are illustrated in Fig. 7.
4. Experimental realization—Mossbauer
spectroscopy as an example
4.1. Practical implementation of AC signal
detection
Encouraged by the results of model calculations,
an attempt has been made for observing the
Mossbauer resonance using AC dual modulation
by making the desired changes in the electronic
circuits of the conventional Mossbauer spectro-
meter. The dual Doppler velocity modulation of
gamma rays is achieved by imposing an additional
AC harmonic modulation at a well-defined fre-
quency f
m
(80 Hz). The electronic circuit used for
achieving the harmonic modulation, shown in
Fig. 8, consists of a commercially available velo-
city drive system (Weissel drive of GDR make)
operated in the constant velocity mode with an
additional sinusoidal motion superimposed on it.
The square wave of 5 Hz is passed through a 10
turn potentiometer for changing the amplitude
from 0 to 72 V. The square wave is amplitude
modulated with 80 Hz sinusoid of 120 mV in
amplitude (modulation depth equal to g
nat
=4).
This amplitude could be adjustable for varying the
depth of modulation through a function generator.
The modulated signal serves the purpose of
reference signal for the velocity servo control
system. The velocity change is carried out manu-
ally by setting the potentiometer for affecting the
reference square wave amplitude. The potenti-
ometer setting was adjusted manually by a quarter
turn to achieve 41 amplitude settings and at each
setting positive and negative velocities are achieved
to avoid DC drifts, etc. Thus, 82 velocity data
points are recorded for the entire velocity scan.
The Co
57
source in Rh-matrix with stainless
steel absorber and proportional counter set up is
used for recording the spectra. It may be noted
that the constant velocity and the AC modulation
are always kept in-phase by deriving a trigger pulse
0 50 100
1400
1600
1800
2000
2200
2400
channels
0 50 100
channels
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(i)
-200
-100
0
100
200
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(ii)
20 40 60 80 100
-5
0
5
channels
20 40 60 80 100
channels
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(iv)
-1.5
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
r
e
l
.
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
(iii)
Fig. 7. Simulated pulse height analysis of gamma ray spectra under normal and AC modulation methods of measurements: (i)
computer simulated PHA of gamma ray spectrum; (ii) derivative of the data given in (i); (iii) the harmonic amplitude function
following the cross-correlation technique; (iv) integral of the first harmonic amplitude spectrum obtained from the data given in (iii).
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 570
generated at the start of square wave for the
initiation of MCS mode of operation of the data
recorder and details of deriving the square wave
are given in Fig. 8. The dwell time in each channel
of MCS mode is kept as 124 ms and the data points
collected at each velocity are about 1600 (800 for
the positive and 800 for negative velocity) forming
the time spectrum at each ‘‘velocity’’ setting by
counting of photons in the MCS mode of
operation at each of the pre-assigned velocity
setting. This has resulted in 100 data points in each
cycle of AC modulation, defining a phase resolu-
tion of 3.6

. Fig. 9 illustrates clearly the effect of
normal Mossbauer absorption at a set velocity
being driven with a modulation frequency f
m
: The
initial 100 data points of each positive and
negative velocity cycles of the square wave at any
set amplitude are not considered for the calcula-
tions to overcome the errors of settling down time
of the mechanical velocity servo control system
while the velocity changes from positive to
negative and vice versa. The data of 1600 channels
acquired for a pre-set time at each velocity setting
are transferred to a floppy the PC and the MCS
system is cleared of data for the next velocity
setting. This process of recording the data and
transfer to floppy at each scan is repeated at 41
equally spaced velocity amplitude settings. We are
aware that FFT chips are used in radar technology
for on-line data processing but such a facility was
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
40
60
80
100
channel number:time
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
Fig. 9. Relative absorption depicting the effect of AC modula-
tion at a given velocity with each channel representing 3.6

phase interval.
Fig. 8. Functional electronic circuit diagram designed and used for the dual velocity modulation.
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 571
not available to the authors and thus an indirect
method of off-line data processing was implemen-
ted in the following manner.
4.2. Data analysis
4.2.1. Coherent detection
The total of data points consisted of
41 Â1600=65,600 records stored in the matrix
form (41, 1600). Having recorded data in the AC
modulated form, the Fourier coherent amplitude
at the modulation frequency is retrieved for each
of the 41 positive and negative velocity points
using the following expression and by adjusting for
the finite phase delays caused by the response of
the velocity drive unit
a
1
ðjÞ ¼ 400D

800
n¼1
½f
j
ðnDÞsin ð2pf
m
nD þj
0
ފ ð28Þ
where e
j
ðnDÞ is the data set at the ‘‘velocity j’’
with D ¼ 124 ms. In the present case, the phase
shift f
0
was equivalent to 32 channels in the first
half of velocity cycle and 16 channels in the other
half velocity cycle. Driving the transducer with
square wave velocity with zero mean eliminates
any DC drift. Further, by repeating the spectral
scan, time averaging is also achievable [25]. Due to
manual operations of velocity increments such
averaging was not attempted. The MCS operation
with a locally available software operated on the
PC ensured the time spent at each velocity to be
the same as it is controlled by the internal clock
which also defined the channel dwell time.
The numerical integration for the first harmonic
amplitude reproduced the normal Mossbauer
spectrum illustrating the signal detection sensitiv-
ity of the analysis. The first harmonic detection
contained most of the signal content. The results
observed for v
m
¼ g=4 are least-squared fitted
(Fig. 10) and the estimated parameters are shown
in Table 2 indicating the better precision being
obtained from the technique. For the purpose of
comparison the normal Mossbauer spectrum
obtained by setting the sinusoidal modulation to
zero was computer fitted which resulted in line
positions as 45.7170.21 with FWHM being
11.5270.45 channels. It is to be noted that the
AC modulation broadens the line as recorded at
S.No.1 in Table 2. The parameters derived from
differential spectrum with no AC modulation are
subjected to large variations. The relative line
broadening caused due to AC modulation with
v
m
¼ g=4 as estimated using Eq. (19) is about 1.04
which when corrected for the line broadening due
to AC modulation gives FWHM of line width
similar to those obtained for the normal spectrum
with no AC modulation. The integrated spectrum
seems to be of better precision than the AC
modulated differential spectrum. The line width
and line position parameters estimated from AC
modulation technique have a factor of two better
in precession compared to those estimated from
normal spectrum. Improvement in S=N ratio is
possible with an increase in the amplitude of
modulating signal. It can be shown that the ratio
of retrieved amplitudes a
1
ðjÞ for v
m
¼ 2g and g=4 is
about 3.2 and the corresponding ratio for the
spectral densities is about 10. This would imply
considerable improvement of S=N ratio is in store
when one employs AC modulation technique. It
can be shown that higher modulation depths not
only increases the first harmonic amplitudes but
also yields reasonable second harmonic amplitudes
which measure the second derivative of the normal
absorption spectrum.
4.2.2. Auto-correlation analysis
The auto-correlation function has the capability
to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio. As per the
Weiner-Khinchin theorem, the Fourier transform
of the auto-correlation function gives the spectral
density and should be proportional to the square
of the first harmonic amplitude obtained from the
cross-correlation technique. Further, the auto-
correlation of the data recorded in the dual
modulated mode as shown in Fig. 11(i) e
j
ðnDÞ is
evaluated as
R
i
ðkÞ ¼
1
350

350
n¼1
½f
i
ðnDÞf
i
ððn þ kÞDފ
for k ¼ 1; 2; y; 350 ð29Þ
at the ith velocity and the result is shown in
Fig. 11(ii). Only 300 points out of 350 data points
of the auto-correlation function are considered
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 572
Table 2
Estimated Mossbauer parameters through least-squared analysis
S. No Legend Line position in
channels
FWHM (g) in
channels
1. Spectrum perturbed with AC modulation evaluated through a
0
coefficient
45.7870.23 13.4370.51
2. Differential spectrum evaluated through the data of S.No.1 45.1670.78 19.2710.38
3. Differential spectrum with AC modulation evaluated through a
1
coefficient
46.0370.18 12.3870.36
a
(11.9070.34)
4. Integral spectrum obtained through a
1
coefficient 45.3970.07 11.7470.26
a
(11.3070.24)
5. Spectrum with no AC modulation 45.7170.21 11.5270.47
a
Corrected for line broadening
-1500
-1000
-500
0
500
1000
1500
(ii)
r
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
20 40 60 80
47000
48000
49000
50000
51000
52000
53000
54000
(i)
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
channel number:velocity
20 40 60 80
channel number:velocity
20 40 60 80
channel number:velocity
20 40 60 80
channel number:velocity
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
(iii)
f
i
r
s
t

h
a
r
m
o
n
i
c

a
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
(iv)
r
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

a
b
s
o
r
p
t
i
o
n
Fig. 10. Representation of experimental results with the continuous curve representing the best fit: (i) Mossbauer spectrum obtained
through a
0
calculation; (ii) differential of the normal Mossbauer spectrum obtained from the data given in (i); (iii) differential spectrum
obtained through cross-correlation analysis; (iv) integral of the first harmonic amplitude method calculated from the data of Fig. 9(iii).
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 573
covering only the three cycles of modulation for
obtaining the spectral density at each velocity by
using the DFT and results for the spectral density
are shown in Fig. 12(i). The square of the Fourier
amplitudes a
1
is also shown in Fig. 12(ii) which is
almost similar to the spectral density results of the
auto-correlation method. It is interesting to note
that the separation between the two spectral
density peaks can be expressed in terms of the
AC modulation depth and the natural line width
and the detailed functional relation can easily be
derived [7], which gives the natural line width.
From this result it is seen that not only one
achieves improvement in the S=N ratio, but also
the resolution enhancement is possible in the AC
detection of signals. Minor differences in peak
heights of spectral densities as observed in the
figure and shapes may be attributed to experi-
mental problems associated with manual scanning
of velocity settings at 41 positions of the potenti-
ometer as even the minor potentiometer setting
errors get magnified in the differential analysis.
5. Conclusions
The correlation techniques applied to Poisson
stochastic processes are shown to improve the
S=N ratio similar to those of phase-sensitive
detection methods. Simulation studies are shown
to illustrate their applicability in particle counting
measurements by employing easily available mod-
ern methods of data acquisition and analysis.
Results presented in this work demonstrated the
improved sensitivity by employing the AC detec-
tion. It is shown, with the facilities available to the
authors in Mossbauer spectroscopy, that the dual
modulation can be achieved for improving the
S=N ratio. It is shown that Fourier and correlation
analysis can be employed even for stochastic
processes in all fields of nuclear spectroscopy. As
a result of improved sensitivity of AC signal
detection in stochastic processes, the correlation
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700
40
60
80
100
(i)
channel number:time
channel number:time
c
o
u
n
t

r
a
t
e
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
-1
-0.5
0
0.5
1
x 10
4
(ii)
c
o
r
r
e
l
a
t
i
o
n

a
m
p
l
i
t
u
d
e
Fig. 11. Sample representation of dual modulated absorption
data at a given velocity: (i) time spectrum as recorded in the
MCS mode of operating the spectrometer and (ii) auto-
correlation data resulting in noise reduction.
20 40 60 80
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
(i)
channel number:velocity channel number:velocity
n
o
r
m
a
l
i
s
e
d

s
p
e
c
t
r
a
l

d
e
n
s
i
t
y
20 40 60 80
0
10
20
30
(ii)
n
o
r
m
a
l
i
s
e
d

s
p
e
c
t
r
a
l

d
e
n
s
i
t
y
Fig. 12. Spectral density variation resulting from: (i) auto-correlation method of analysis and (ii) cross-correlation method of analysis.
V.R. Reddy et al. / Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A 501 (2003) 559–575 574
methods coupled with Fourier technique should
help in:
1. evaluating the multipolarity of nuclear transi-
tions, nuclear moments, internal hyperfine
fields, nuclear orientation effects, polarization
correlation and b-decay matrix elements, etc.,
with better precision;
2. overcoming the limitation of accidental coin-
cidences in directional correlation measure-
ments [2];
3. observing the positronium triplet state quench-
ing and positronium resonance for detecting
3
S-
1
S transition, which is till now limited by
large chance coincidence rates;
4. evaluating physical parameters with better
precision in all the photon/particle counting
spectroscopy like pulse height analysis, XRD,
XRF, RBS, ESCA, etc., in the differential mode
through the modulation of measurable para-
meters and at times without perturbing the
physical processes in contrast to the perturba-
tion caused by modulating field as in NMR and
ESR spectroscopy; and
5. observing rare Mossbauer transitions with low
recoilless factors as well as of sharp line widths
through broadening by modulation [7].
Acknowledgements
The financial support of the Department of
Science and Technology, Government of India,
through project no. SP/S2/M 67/96 dated
16.06.1999 and the Inter University Consortium
for DAE facilities for allowing to use the facilities
are acknowledged. The authors thank Mr. S. Das
for his help with the electronic circuit made.
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