# Gamma rays

Gamma rays
Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation which
come from the nucleus of an atom. Electromagnetic
radiation consists of packets of energy called
photons which are transmitted in the form of waves
at the speed of light.
Gamma rays have no mass and no charge and are
given the symbol ., the Greek lower case letter for
‘G’.
Gamma ray emission
Gamma rays are emitted as a way for the nucleus
of radioisotopes to release excess energy and
become more stable.
They are usually emitted following alpha or beta
decay and, as only energy is released and not
particles, both the atomic number and atomic mass
of the radionuclide are unchanged during gamma
emission. Hence, after this type of gamma
emission, there is no shift on the chart of nuclides.
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Although this equation could be written in a similar way to
the equation for alpha emission more detailed way of writing
this equation
is as follows:

Note that gamma rays are emitted from the nucleus with
well-defined energies ranging up to several
megaelectronvolts (MeV).
The energies released are characteristic of the emitting
220
Rn
86
216
Po
84
:+
4
o
+2

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Isomeric transition

Gamma ray emission usually happens immediately
after the initial decay (approximately 10-10 seconds
after). However, some radionuclides do not remove
this excess energy so quickly and there may be a
time lapse of minutes or even hours before the
gamma ray is emitted.
In this case, the radionuclides are known as
metastable radionuclides and are denoted by an m
following the mass number.
After a certain amount of time, the gammaray will
finally be emitted and this process is known as an
isomeric transition.
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Radionuclides which exhibit metastable states are shown
on the chart of the nuclides as a vertically divided square.
The left hand side of the square shows the properties of
the metastable state whereas the right hand side shows
the properties of the normal radionuclide. When a
radionuclide undergoes isomeric transition (denoted by
the symbol IT),
it will shift to the right hand side of the square on the
chart of nuclides.
technecium-99. Note that the square is divided into two,
indicating that this radionuclide may exist in a metastable
state (Tc-99m). On the left hand side, the decay mode is
denoted by the letters IT. This indicates that Tc-99m may
undergo isomeric transition to Tc-99
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This isomeric transition would then shift the radionuclide from
the left hand side of the box (Tc-99m) to the right hand side
(Tc-99).Technetium-99m actually results from the beta decay
of molybdenum-99 and the whole process can be shown by
equation as follows:

4

or more commonly as:

99
Mo
42
|
-

99m
Tc
43
+

IT

99
Tc
43
-
99
Mo
42
99m
Tc
43
+|
-

99
Tc
43

-
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X-rays
Like gamma rays, x-rays are also electromagnetic radiation
with no mass and no charge. However, x-rays differ from
gamma rays in that gamma rays are produced by changes in
the nucleus of an atom whereas x-rays are produced when
atomic electrons undergo a change in orbit. X-rays are usually
referred to by name rather than by symbol, but you may see
the symbol X used for x-rays.

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X-rays are
useful for
seeing what is
inside of
something
Observation
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x-rays are produced either as

 characteristic x-rays (electron transition from
one energy orbit around the atom to another
orbit more tightly bound to the nucleus) or

 bremsstrahlung (electrons losing energy as
they pass in the vicinity of atoms and are
deflected by the positive and negative
charges)
X-Rays
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 characteristic x-rays have defined predictable
energies (the energy difference between the
two orbits traversed by the electron)

 bremsstrahlung is composed of a spectrum
of energies ranging from near zero energy to
a maximum energy equal to the initial energy
of the electron – the energy of the x-ray
produced is dependent on how much energy
the electron loses during an interaction (the
most it can lose is all the energy it has – the
least it can lose is a very small amount,
almost zero)
X-Rays
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X-rays can be produced as a result of some modes of
decay but are more often produced artificially in x-ray
generators. X-ray generators depend on
a process known as bremsstrahlung which is German
produced when high speed, charged particles
(usually electrons) are slowed down rapidly by striking a
target of high atomic number. This process occurs in an
x-ray tube and the basic elements of a
modern x-ray tube are shown in Figure.
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GLASS
ENVELOPE ELECTRON
STREAM
FILAMENT
CATHODE
FOCUSING
CUP
WINDOW
USEFUL X-RAYS
TUNGSTEN
TARGET
ANODE
X-Ray Unit
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W
e
-
Tungsten
nucleus X-ray
Bremsstrahlung
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Bremsstrahlung
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In the x-ray tube shown above, electrons are produced
by heating a metal filament. The electrons are
accelerated towards the target by a large electricfield
produced by a high voltage applied between the anode
and cathode.
The focusing cup concentrates the electrons onto the
target which is usually made of a metal such as tungsten.
The electrons are slowed down rapidly(i.e. they brake
quickly) and produce a broad range of x-rays. In some
cases, very high-energy electrons may emit electrons
from the inner shells of the target atoms. When this
happens, x-rays with discrete energies which re
characteristic of the target material will be emitted. Such
emissions are known as characteristic x-rays.
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 bremsstrahlung x-rays are extensively used in
medical and industrial applications

 Medical x-ray units are used for Diagnostic
Radiology and Linear Accelerators are used

 Industrial x-ray units are used to
“diagnose” problems with inanimate
objects (such as faulty welds on pipes) or
they can be used to search for contraband
(baggage inspection units at airports)
X-Rays
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Diagnostic Medical X-Ray Unit
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Diagnostic Medical X-Ray Unit
HIGH VOLTAGE
CABLES
X-RAY TUBE HOUSING
(ASSEMBLY)
COLLIMATOR
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(high energy)

Accelerates electrons
but can also produce
high energy x-rays by
directing the electron
beam into a target as is
done in a typical
diagnostic x-ray unit.
Medical
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Industrial
X-Ray Diffraction
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Industrial
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For comparison, the output of a 100 Ci
192
Ir
Industrial
from industrial radiography units with beryllium
windows
X-Ray Unit kVp mA R hr
-1
@ 1 m
Magnaflux 150 10 3,600
Sperry 275 10 6,600
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incident
electron
vacancy
created
electron
transition
x-ray
emitted
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Optical
unexcited
atom
N
M
L
Optical
orbits
Valence
electron
K
70,000
11,000
2500
0
E
n
e
r
g
y
(
6
v
)
n
o
t
t
o
s
c
a
l
e
W
Optical energy levels
K
L
O
M
N
w
M
N
L
K
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 characteristic x-rays are useful for identifying
things

 since the energies emitted are
“characteristic” of the atoms that make up
the object, an analysis of the energies
emitted can help to identify the object

 thus characteristic x-rays are used for
trace element analysis which is used in
forensic science (matching evidence
samples) and other activities (such as
identifying contaminants)
X-Rays
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 The essential elements of a conventional
x-ray generation equipment are:

x-ray tube,

transformers or high voltage source to
produce the required voltage, and

a set of control panel.
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X-ray Tubes :
The basic components of a x-ray tube
are:
a sealed glass tube envelope,
a cathode, and
an anode
Target (Anode) Filament (Cathode)
Glass tube envelope
X-ray tube window
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TUBE ENVELOPE
 Tube envelope is made of glass or metal-ceramic
having high melting point to withstand the intense heat
generated at the anode.

 A high vacuum environment for the tube elements is
necessary;

to prevent oxidation of the electrode materials,

to permit ready passage of the electron beam without
ionisation of gas within the tube, and

to provide electrical insulation between the electrodes.
Interaction of ¸ / X-rays with Matter

Gamma (or X-rays) rays interact with matter
by 03 main processes.
- Photoelectric Absorption
- Compton Scattering
- Pair Production

Photoelectric Absorption

• Total energy of ¸ - radiation is given to one of
the orbital electron.
• After the interaction a fast moving electron is
ejected.
E
¸
= h u
e
Photoelectric Contd…..

• Photoliectic effect is more probable with tightly
bound electrons.
• Energy relationship between the photon and the
electron is E
¸
= h u = E
k
+ |
Where | = work function
E
k
- Kinetic Energy of the
electron
• The electron will lose its energy by ionizing the
atoms in the substance.
Compton Effect

• Only part of the ¸ -radiation is given up to the
orbital electron and ejected with the angle of |
2
1
E
¸
= h u

|
2
E
¸
= h u

|
1
e
E
k
Compton Effect Contd……..

• The other part of energy is scatted at an angle of
|
1
as E`
¸
(E`
¸
< E
¸
)

• The electron will lose its energy by ionizing the
atoms in the substance.

• Compton effect is move probable with loosely
bound electrons.
Pair Production

• Gives up all of energy and forms electron and
positron is called pair-production.
• To occur pair production the ¸-ray photon must
have an energy > 1.022 MeV

-
+
-
+
electron
positron
¸
511 keV
¸

511 keV
E=hu>1.022 MeV
Pair Production Contd……

• Both electron and positron lose kinetic energy
through ionizing of atoms.

• The position interact with on electron in the
substance and change into two _ photons of 511
KeV emitted in nearly opposite directions.

• They may interact further in the substance
through the photoelectric or Compton scattering.
The actual source material is made in the form
of a sphere or right cylinder (hight= diameter)
and specified in millimeter. Small radiography
sources have sizes from 0.5-0.6 mm (activities
3.7TBq(100Ci)) to over from 10 mm diameter
by lengths up to 30 mm
X-ray and gamma ray sources
Comparison of X-ray and gamma ray sources
is difficult because of their very different
radiation spectra. Co -60 and Cs-137
essentially have single wavelength spectra
quite unlikely that of an X-ray spectrum. Ir-192
has complex spectrum like X-rays.
EXPOSURE
ENGINEERING CONTROL METHODS

APPLICATION OF PRACTICAL METHODS

ENGINERING AND
EXPOSURES

Normal Exposure

Potential Exposure

Potential exposures
• BSS 1996 glossary: “Exposure that is not
expected to be delivered with certainty but
that may result from an accident at a source
or owing to an event or sequence of events
of a probabilistic nature, including
equipment failures and operating errors.”
Potential exposures
• Are in principle avoidable
• Need to be considered and the risk
minimized
– Prevention
– Education
– Protective equipment
– Mitigating the effects
In general, the management of
more effective by the classification of
areas (BSS I.21-25)
• Controlled areas
• Supervised areas

• … both are in addition to public areas.
Controlled Areas
• BSS Appendix I.21. “Registrants and licensees
shall designate as a controlled area any area in
which specific protective measures or safety
provisions are or could be required for:
– controlling normal exposures or preventing the
working conditions; and
– preventing or limiting the extent of potential
exposures.”
Controlled areas
• BSS appendix I.22.: “In determining the
boundaries of any controlled area, registrants and
licensees shall take account of the magnitudes of
the expected normal exposures, the likelihood and
magnitude of potential exposures, and the nature
and extent of the required protection and safety
procedures.”

• All treatment rooms
• Brachytherapy source preparation rooms
• Source storage areas
Controlled areas
• Require access restrictions
• Require interlocks where appropriate
• Require signs
• Protective equipment and
monitoring
• Require staff to follow written
procedures
Supervised Areas
BSS Appendix I.24. “Registrants and
licensees shall designate as a supervised area
any area not already designated as a
controlled area but where occupational
exposure conditions need to be kept under
review even though specific protection
measures and safety provisions are not
normally needed.”
Supervised areas in
• Operator consoles
• Areas where calculated
exposure rates through
shielding barriers are likely
to result in exposures of
1mSv per year (IAEA
TecDoc 1040, 1998)
Example of Area Classification with Respect to Annual Dose

Area Classification
Potential Annual Dose
(mSv)
Controlled
>6
Supervised 1-6
Unclassified
<1
In practice, areas are usually classified according to the
measured dose rate at the boundary of the area.

Dose rate values are determined by considering the potential
dose which is acceptable as an annual dose together with
the amount of time spent by workers in the classified area
(occupancy time).

The occupancy time is often written as a fraction of the total
work time and is known as the occupancy factor.

For example an occupancy factor of 0.2 means that a
worker spends one fifth (or 20%) of their working time in a
particular area.

This corresponds to 400 working hours during one year
(assuming a standard working year of 50 weeks, 40
hours per week). Table shows how areas could be
classified according to dose rate if an occupancy
factor of 0.2 is assumed. The dose rate values given
in Table have been calculated by dividing the
annual dose (in microsieverts) given in above Table by
400 hours.

Area Classification
Potential Annual Dose μSv/h)
Controlled
>15
Supervised 2.5-15
Unclassified
<2.5
Note that the values given above are an example only
and the dose rate approach to area classification
must be used very carefully, taking into account the
individual workplace conditions.
It is very difficult to assess an average dose rate, and
information about the length of time the dose rate
stays at or above the defined levels along with the risk
of potential exposure should be considered.
However, this method, if applied carefully, does provide
3. Local Rules and Supervision
BSS Appendix I.26. “Employers, registrants
and licensees shall, in consultation with workers,
through their representatives if appropriate:

establish in writing such local rules
and procedures as are necessary
protection and safety for workers
and other persons”
Establish
• relevant investigation level or authorized
level (in radiotherapy this can typically be
set low as „normal exposure‟ is small)
• … and the procedure to be followed in the
event that any such value is exceeded;
Ensure
• that any work involving occupational
take all reasonable steps to ensure that the
rules, procedures, protective measures and
safety provisions be observed
• that a radiation protection officer is
appointed (when required by the
Regulatory Authority)
Protective measures
• A safe environment for staff is provided by
– Good building design
– education
– signage
– shielding
• of the equipment
• room housing the equipment
– interlocks
• if triggered will cause the equipment to go into a
safe mode
In practice, education and training are
often the best protection
BSS Appendix I.27. “Employers, in co-operation
with registrants and licensees, shall: provide to all
workers adequate information on the health risks
due to their occupational exposure, whether
normal exposure or potential exposure, adequate
instruction and training on protection and safety,
and adequate information on the significance for
protection and safety of their actions”
5. Monitoring
BSS Appendix I.32: “The employer of any worker,
as well as self-employed individuals, and the
registrants and licensees shall be responsible for
arranging for the assessment of the Occupational
exposure of workers, on the basis of individual
monitoring where appropriate, and shall ensure
appropriate dosimetry services under an adequate
quality assurance programme.”
…and
BSS Appendix I.33: “In cases where individual
monitoring is inappropriate, inadequate or not
feasible, the occupational exposure of the worker
shall be assessed on the basis of the results of
monitoring of the workplace and on information
on the locations and durations of exposure of the
worker.”

CONTROL OF EXPOSURE BY
PRACTICL METHODS

OCCUR WHEN THE SOURCES OF
BODY. SUCH HAZARDS OCCUR WITH
SOURCES EMITTING BETA, X OR

OCCUR WHEN THE BODY IS
CONTAMINATED EITHER INTERNALLY
OR EXTERNALLY WITH
WITH SOURCES EMITTING ALPHA, BETA,
NEUTRONS

CONTROL OF EXTERNAL
• Time (T), Distance (D), and Shielding (S)

• Time– minimize exposure time
• Distance– increasing distance
• Shielding– use shielding effectively;
portable and pull-down shields;
protective aprons; stand behind
someone else
Time
Dose proportional to Time
Dose = Dose-rate x Time
Time in practice
sources in brachytherapy
– „live‟ implants
– handling/nursing patients with implants
• When holding patients during diagnostic
procedures (e.g. simulator)
• …otherwise not of great relevance.
Maximize Distance – Inverse Square Law
Radiation dose varies inversely with the square of
the distance

If you double your distance from source of x rays,
your dose is reduced by a factor of 4, i.e., it is 25%
of what it would have been!
Distance
Inverse square law :
Dose-rate · 1/(distance)
2
distance
d
o
s
e
-
r
a
t
e

Inverse Square Law Helps Protect
You
• Move from 20 cm to 40 cm, or 1 m to 2 m,
from patient, dose rate decreased 4X
or to 25%!!
The patient is the source of scattered
Do not stand next to patient during fluoro
Step back during
cine runs

D
2D
3D
1
3
2
4
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Distance in practice
• Important when dealing with brachytherapy
patients
• Important when handling active sources in
brachytherapy (long tweezers!)
• … otherwise usually not something staff
can influence.
• Shielding is an important principle of
radiation protection which is utilized in
practice when interacting with material X-
ray and gamma ray is attenuated but not
completely stopped by the absorber material
The intensity of the radiation after passing
through an absorber can be determined from
I=I
0
e
-μt
• This relationship is only valid for narrow
beam attenuation and does not include the
build up effect of scatter. In practice broad
beam conditions exist ,HVL and TVL
should be used for shielding thickness
calculations,
Shielding
incident
transmitted
Tenth Value Thickness
D µSv/h
D/10 µSv/h
HVL=0.693/μ
T-transmission factor, will depend on energy of
the incident beam the atomic number of the
absorber and the absorbers thickness and
density
T= intensity of beam transmitted through
absorber /intensity of beam without absorber
Shielding in practice
• Radiography typically uses sources with highly
penetrating radiation - need substantial shielding.
• Design of appropriate shielded for controlling
gamma exposures
• Radiotherapy rooms also has shielding for
reducing exposures
Source preparation area
192-Ir wire cutter
Source handling station
Long tweezers
Annex a
CONTROL OF INTERNAL
EXPOSURE

RESULTS FROM

contamination of the body internally or externally with
Contamination :Presence of radioactive material in an
undesirable location
CONTAMINATION PATHWAYS

• Inhalation – by breathing radioactive dust
& gas
• Ingestion – by drinking contaminated
water, eating contaminated food
• Absorption through the intact skin or
through wounds.

PROTECTIVE MEASURES

 CONTROL OF TARGET(USER)
Prevention of radioactive material entering into the body

 CONTROL OF SOURCE
Prevention of transmission of radioactivity from source to
target
CONTROL OF THE TARGET

LABORATORY CLOTHS

• Wear laboratory cloth- should be restricted to the
• Laboratory clothes may include :
 Laboratory coat
 Coveralls
 Caps
 Shoes or shoe covers

CONTAMINATION SURVEYS

Survey the hands, feet and whole body for
contamination before heaving the laboratory.
If the contamination is more than the allowable
limits decontamination should be done.

Survey the working benches and laboratory cloths.

 If the contamination is more than the allocable
limit, decontamination should be done.
MONITORING
Furniture and telephone sets
are surveyed.
Areas suspected to be
contaminated are surveyed.
King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh

RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
Required when a person is likely to be
exposed to a high concentration of air
Exact respiratory type depends on the
nature of the air borne contamination.
CLASIFICATION OF RESPIRATORS
• Filter type respirators :

Suitable only for dusts & not suitable for radioactive gases.

Two varieties:
Half face respirators -suitable when air borne dust
concentration is less than ten (10) times the
maximum atmospheric concentration.
Full-face respirators - considered suitable up to fifty (50) time the
recommended maximum atmospheric
concentration.

SUPPLIED AIR MARKS
: Used for either or both dusts or gases
Two varieties
(a) Air line hoods : air to the hood is supplied from a remote
source under positive pressure.
(b) Self containing breathing apparatus : breathing air is
supplied either from a bottle carried by the man, or from a
canister containing oxygen generating chemicals.

• Faeces, urine and other liquids should be
disposed of via the toilet.

• Contaminated clothing, linen, food items etc
which can not go into the toilet should be
stored in a separate plastic bag labeled
daily to the designated radioactive waste
storage facility.

• Cutlery and dishes should be washed in the
patient‟s room and reused by the patient.
CONTROL OF THE SOURCE
Is achieved by
 Proper designing of the laboratories
and prepartion and handling of radioactive materials.
 Selection of suitable material for floors and wall of the
laboratory and working surfaces of the furniture for easy
decontamination. (formica, vinyl tiles etc..)
 Provision of proper ventilation
CONTROL OF THE SOURCE (Contd;)

Use of fume hood or fume cupboard:
to control the release to occupied areas
keep under negative pressure
provide protection for volatile and gaseous
wastes

CONTROL OF THE SOURCE
(Contd;)

• Use of trays with absorbent papers and
polythene covers for easy decontamination.

• Use of remote handling tongs.