Gamma-Ray Spectra

Several common houshold products emit small quantities of ionizing radiation. This site describes an attempt at recording the spectra of several such items using a bunch of outdated instrumentation purchased off ebay. The links below describe the instrumentation used, the method used to obtain the spectra and the results.

Instrumentation instrumentation calibration
Instrumentation Calibration
Results Background spectrum Lantern mantle spectrum Fiesta spectrum smoke detector spectrum
Background radiation Lantern mantles Fiesta dinnerware Smoke detector
Trinitite spectrum


The isotopes labelled in each of the spectra presented here were identified (sometimes even correctly) by comparison with spectra from the following sources:

1. "Gamma-Ray Spectrum Catalogue - Ge and Si Detector Spectra", 4th edition, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, September 1988.

2. Heath, R.L., "Scintillation Spectrometry - Gamma-Ray Spectrum Catalogue", IDO-16880, 2nd edition - Vol. 1 (Rev.), February 1997.

3. Couch, Jack G. and Vaughn, Kelly L., "Radioactive Consumer Products in the Classroom", The Physics Teacher, Vol 33, January 1995, p18-22.

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