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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (1)

Natural Radioactivity

Cosmic Radiation Terrestrial Radiation

- Protons (93 %) - without decay series - Permanent formation of


- Alpha-Particles (6.3 %) - 20 radioactive nuclides radioactive nuclides from
- heavier nuclides (0.7 %) from the beginning of decay series
the earth
- long half-lifes - 232Th → 208Pb

- most important - 235U → 207Pb

representative 40K - 238U → 206Pb

- 4th decay series:


241Pu → 209Bi

reactivated by the
artificial production of Pu
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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (2)


Natural Radioactivity Primary cosmic radiation
- Protons (93 %) Cosmic Radiation
Interaction with nuclei
- Alpha-Particles (6.3 %) of the air
- heavier nuclides (0.7 %)
Secondary radiation

- energy of the protons can


be up to 1014 MeV
- initialisation of nuclear
reactions

- Main products:
Tritium, 7Beryllium,
14Carbon, 22Sodium 3
H:
Formation 14
7 N + 01n→13 H + 126C
14
C:
Formation 14
7 N + 01n→146 C +11p 16
N + 01n→13 H +147N
7

Decay 14
6 C →147 N + −10 e Decay 3
1 H → 23 He+ −10 e
T1/2 = 5730 a T1/2 =: 12.323 a
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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (3)

Natural Radioactivity
Terrestrial Radiation

Radioactive nuclides without decay series


Electron capture
- 20 radioactive nuclides
- from primordial ressources
- very long half-lifes
- most important representative is 40K (T1/2 =
1.28 x 109 y)

- Other examples:
Nuclide T1/2 Decay Isotopic
abundance
187 10 -
Re 5 x 10 y ß 62.60
115 14 -
In 4.4 x 10 y ß 95,7
123 13
Te 1.24 x 10 y K 0.908
87 10 -
Rb 4.8 x 10 y ß 27.8
113 15 -
Cd 9.3 x 10 y ß 12.2 33

3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (4)


Natural Radioactivity
Terrestrial Radiation

Decay series

- Cascades of radioactive decays which origin from a certain radioactive


nuclide and ends with a certain stable nuclide (lead or bismuth)
- Decay series include α-, ß- and γ-decays
- they can have branches but always end with the same final product
- four natural decay series were established:

232Th → 208Pb (Thorium family)


235U → 207Pb (Actinium family)
238U → 206Pb (Uranium family)
241Pu → 209Bi (Neptunium family)

- Pu/Bi series was decayed in nature due to the relatively short half-life of 237Np

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (5)
Natural Radioactivity
Terrestrial Radiation

Decay series
232Th → 208Pb
235U → 207Pb
238U → 206Pb
241Pu → 209Bi

Crucial Element:

- Radon
- inert gas
- can leave the compartment
Uranium family Neptunium family

Thorium family Actinium family 35

3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (6)

A part of the Uranium family series is


important for the laboratory course:

- 238U (99.27% natural abundance) decays into 234Th

(Half-life: 4.4 x 109 y, α-decay)


- 234Th is radioactive itself and forms 234 Pa
(Half-life 24.1 d, ß-decay)
- this disintegration passes a transient state with a
certain half-life ( the metastable isomer 234mPa
which is a γ -emitter)
- This γ -emitter is the radioactive substance of almost
all measuring experiments in the lab course
234m
91 Pa short half-life
γ

α β- β
-
α
238
92U 4.47 109 a
234
90 Th 24.1 d
234
91 Pa 6.7 h
234
92 U 2.44 105 a
230
90 Th
α
7.7 104 a

Uranium family Neptunium family 36

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (7)

Decay series
232Th → 208Pb
235U → 207Pb
238U → 206Pb
241Pu → 209Bi

Crucial Element:

- Radon
- inert gas
- can leave the compartment
Uranium family Neptunium family

Thorium family Actinium family 37

4) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (8)


Natural Radioactivity
Terrestrial Radiation

Radon as main source of natural radioactivity


Daughter
isotopes
in the
walls

Radon is a mobile radioelement


Daughter
- formation by decay series: isotopes
in the air

228Rn, 224Rn, 220Rnby thorium series


226Rn, 222Rn by uranium series
219Rn by actinium series

Daughter
isotopes
in the
soil
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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (9)

Radon distribution as main source of natural radioactivity

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (10)

Mean radiation exposure to persons in industrial countries

Durchschnittliche
Mean Strahlenbelastung
radiation exposure pro Jahr:
per year: 3.23,2mSv
mSv
9%
9%kosmische
Rn cosmic
Strahlung
radiation
7%
7%körperinnere
internal
Strahlung
radiation
42% 42%
13%
13%terristische
terrestrial
Röntgenstrahlung
Strahlung
X-Ray radiation

29%
29%Rn-222
Rn in im
Mauerwerk
building material

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (11)

Artificial nuclear reactions

- first artificial nuclear reaction in 1919


- bombardment of nitrogen with α-particles
- transmutation of nitrogen into oxygen

14
7 N + 24He→178 O +11H
14
7 N (α , p )178 O

- all other particles are possible as projectiles


(neutrons, protons, deuterons etc.)

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (12)

Artificial nuclear reactions

Facilities for nuclear reactions:

Cyclotron
electrodes

source

Linear accelerator

Ion
source
target
gap
target

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (13)

Artificial nuclear reactions

Neutrons as projectiles:
- neutral particles (no repulsion with the
positively charged nucleus
- important projectile

Origin of the neutrons:


Neutron source
Nuclear reactor:
- speed of the neutrons
must be decreased
(moderated)
- moderators: water,
hydrogen, deuterium

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Be+ 24He→126 C + 01n
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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (14)

Artificial nuclear reactions

Neutrons as projectiles:
- neutral particles (no repulsion with the
positively charged nucleus
- important projectile

- slow (moderated) neutrons react


with many nuclei
- neutron capturing reactions
- radioactive isotopes of almost all
elements can be produced this
way

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (15)

Artificial elements
Heaviest stable element is bismuth

Holes in the periodic Table: technetium, promethium

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (16)

Artificial elements

96
42 Mo + 12H → 97
43Tc + 0 n
1
(Molybdenum → Technetium)

209
83 Bi + 24He→ 211
85 At + 2 0 n
1
(Bismuth → Astat)

230
90 Th +11H → 223
87 Fr + 2 2 He
4
(Thorium → Francium)

Transuranium elements
238
U + 01 n → 239
92 92 U + γ (Uran → Uran)
239 239 0
92 U → 93 Np + −1 e (Uran → Neptunium)
239 239 0
93 Np → 94 Pu + −1 e (Neptunium → Plutonium)

238 12 244 1
U +
92 6 C → 98 Cf + 6 n 0 (Uran → Californium)

249 18 263 1
98 Cf + 8 O → 106 Sg + 4 n 0 (Uran → Seaborgium)

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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (17)
Examples for artificial nuclear reactions

Reaction Nuclear Reaction Radioactivity of the product


Type
(α,n) 33 As + 2 He → 25 Br + 0 n
75 4 78 1
β+
Arsen Bromine
46 Pd + 2 He → 47 Ag + 1 H
(α,p) 106 4 109 1
stable
Palladium Silver
3 Li + 1 H → 4 Be + 0 n
(p,n) 7 1 7 1
Electron capture
Lithium Beryllium
(p,γ) 7 N + 1H → 8O + γ
14 1 15
β+
Nitrogen Oxygen
4 Be + 1 H → 3 Li + 2 He
(p,α) 9 1 6 4
stable
Beryllium Lithium
(d,p) 15 P + 1 H → 15 P + 1 H
31 2 32 1
β-
Phosphorus Phosphorus
(d,n) 83 Bi + 1 H → 84 Po + 0 n
209 2 210 1
α
Bismuth Polonium
(n,γ) 27 Co + 0 n → 27 Co + γ
59 1 60
β-
Cobalt Cobalt
(n,p) 21 Sc + 0 n → 20 Ca + 1 H
45 1 45 1
β-
Scandium Calcium
(n,α) 13 Al + 0 n → 11 Na + 2 He
27 1 24 4
β-
Aluminium Sodium
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3) Natural and Artificial Radioactivity (18)


Nuclear fission
Nuclear binding energy per nucleon
Binding energy per nucleon / MeV

Remind! Nuclear binding energy


- Sum of the masses of nucleons is bigger than the
nucleus of an atom
- Difference: nuclear binding energy

- Energy can be gained by fusion of light elements


or fission of heavy elements

Mass number

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