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Original Title: Beta-Energy-Spectrum-Experiment.pdf

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Experiment 3

Ahmed Mohsen Handoussa

5/25/2013

Beta Ray Energy Spectrum

When a nucleus changes its state by beta decay, the energy spectrum of the emitted

beta particles extends from zero up to a maximum energy that depends on the

radioactive isotope.

1. Continuous spectrum

2. Line spectrum

Continuous Spectrum

The beta particle emitted by the nucleus shares the transition energy of the decay

process with the neutrino or antineutrino randomly so that it has energy ranging from

zero up to a certain maximum value called the end-point energy and it is also equal to

the total transition energy.

Line Spectrum

A nucleus in an excited state may lose its excitation or part of it to reach a lower energy

by gamma photon emission or internal conversion. The electrons emitted from

internal conversion have definite values of energy and are called internal conversion

electrons. The negative beta particles are ejected from the nucleus with kinetic energy

equal to the difference between the excitation energy ( ) and the binding energy of the

electron in its shell ( ),

The energy of the emitted beta particle from the source is given by,

[√ ( ) ]

The magnetic field strength of an electromagnet used to deflect the internal conversion

beta particles is calculated from the following expression,

The emitted electrons in this process are called internal conversion electrons and they

have definite values of energies.

The experiment aims at studying the spectrum of beta particles emitted from a beta

source and determine the maximum energy of the beta particles. The experiment

procedure follows,

1. Set the counter at the operating voltage (Vop) and the time at 0.5 minutes, then

adjust the spectrometer

2. Allow a 100 mA - 200 mA current to pass in a certain direction in the coil of the

electromagnet and observe the counting rate (directional test)

3. Reverse the direction of the current and observe the counting rate (directional

test)

4. The direction suitable for the experiment is the direction in which the counting

rate is larger, so we choose the larger counting rate that corresponds to the

current direction and consequently to the magnetic field that deflects the beta

particles into the counter (directional test)

5. Gradually decrease the current magnitude and simultaneously alternate its

direction to demagnetize the cores and poles of the electromagnet

(demagnetization)

6. Adjust the current at zero then take the counting rate at zero current as the

background counting rate (n0) in counts per 0.5 minutes

7. Increase the current in steps of 10 mA from0.02 A until 0.4 A and tabulate the

corresponding counting rate in each step

8. Deduce the statistical error (√ )

9. Plot a relation between the counting rate (n) and the magnetizing current (I)

10. From the graph determine the current corresponding to the end-point energy

(Imax)

11. Calculate the magnetic field strength (H)

12. Calculate the radius of the particle path (r)

13. Deduce the end-point energy

Figure 2 Experimental setup

If an electron emitted from beta decay enters a homogeneous magnetic field in a

perpendicular direction it will move in a circular path which depends upon the velocity

of the electron(), its charge () and its mass (). The equation of motion is given by,

( )

Since,

( )

( )

( )

√ ( )

√

From the equation that describes the relative mass of the electron, the relativistic kinetic

energy becomes,

√

( )

Now we can combine the equation of motion with the relativistic kinetic energy of the

electron to find a general expression for the energy of the emitted negative beta particle,

√

( )

(√ ( ) )

(√ ( ) )

Radius and Circular Path of a Beta Particle Passing through a Magnetic Field

When a beta particle enters a homogeneous magnetic field it moves in a circular path

given by,

( )

( )

( )

The magnetic field strength (H) is given by,

( )

Data

Source: Strontium-90

Serial

mA) (N) (√ )

1 0 55 7.42

2 20 53 7.28

3 40 93 9.64

4 60 230 15.17

5 80 380 19.49

6 100 504 22.45

7 120 599 24.47

8 140 825 28.72

9 160 938 30.63

10 180 1058 32.53

11 200 1161 34.07

12 220 1065 32.63

13 240 1088 32.98

14 260 879 29.65

15 280 658 25.65

16 300 508 22.54

17 320 303 17.41

18 340 101 10.05

19 360 75 8.66

20 380 52 7.21

21 400 36 6.00

22 420 35 5.92

23 440 32 5.66

24 460 44 6.63

25 480 44 6.63

26 500 28 5.29

BETA SPECTRUM FOR STRONTIUM-90

1400

1200

Count rate (counts/0.5 mn)

1000

800

600

400

200

0

40

0

20

60

80

100

160

220

120

140

180

200

240

260

280

300

320

340

360

380

400

420

440

460

480

500

Current (I mA)

Calculations

Calculation of the magnetic field strength,

( )( )

( )

( ) ( )

( )

(√ ( ) )

( )( )

(√ ( ) )

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