Modern techniques and applications in Cherenkov counting Page: 2 of 19
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LIQUID SCINTILLATION COUNTING
experiments. This technique is particularly interesting
because it appears to be generally applicable to both
Cerenkov and conventional liquid scintillation counting
procedures. Use of a simple computer program allows one
to quickly set-up his instrument for optimum isotope sepa-
ration and also to evaluate the probable limits of error
in the measurement.
In the span of just a few years, Cerenkov counting tech-
niques have become well established for the rapid assay
of many beta and beta-gamma emitting radionuclides. Sev-
eral authors have suggested that it is the method of choice
for certain isotopes. Among the advantages of the techni-
ques are extreme simplicity of sample preparation, the
ability to count in aqueous systems without the use of or-
ganic fluors, and the high detection sensitivity that can
be obtained. Another important consideration is that con-
ventional liquid scintillation counting equipment can be
used without modification. Many of the factors that influ-
ence the successful application of Cerenkov counting to
practical problems have already been described (1,2). This
paper will attempt to both review and extend the state of
Cerenkov counting technology.
Cerenkov radiation is produced when a charged particle
passes through a transparent medium (the Cerenkov genera-
tor) at a relative phase velocity greater than the speed
of light in the same medium. Upon entering the generator,
the particle experiences a strong slowing force and, during
this period of rapid de-acceleration, electromagnetic radi-
ation is generated. Cerenkov radiation has been described
as the .particle electromagnetic "shock wave" that is anal-
ogous to the boom created by hypersonic aircraft. Theo-
retically, the Cerenkov spectrum extends from microwave to
X-ray frequencies; the portion of major concern to practi-
cal counting procedures lies in the ultraviolet and blue
spectral regions. The most familiar display of Cerenkov
radiation is the blue glow surrounding the core of swim-
The basic physical condition that must be met for the
formation of Cerenkov radiation is:
On > 1 (1)
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Ross, H.H. & Rasmussen, G.T. Modern techniques and applications in Cherenkov counting, article, January 1, 1972; Tennessee. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1030287/m1/2/: accessed May 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.