Description: Beta liquid scintillation counting has been used for about 30 years, and its effectiveness for alpha particles has been known for almost that long; however, the technique has not been widely applied to alpha particle detection because of poor energy resolution, high background, and variable interference from beta and gamma radiation. Beginning with the work of Horrocks in the early 1960s, improvements in energy resolution and background rejection have been made. Further developments at Oak Ridge National Laboratory over the past 10 to 12 years have resulted in improved methods of sample preparation (using liquid-liquid extraction methods to isolate the sample and introduce it into the scintillator) and better instrumentation, including electronic rejection of beta and gamma pulses. Energy resolutions of 200- to 300-keV FWHM and background counts of 0.01 cpm are now routine. Alpha liquid scintillation spectrometry is now suitable for a wide range of applications, from the accurate quantitative determination of relatively large amounts of known nuclides in laboratory-generated samples to the detection and identification of very small, subpicocurie amounts of alpha emitters in environmental-type samples. Suitable nuclide separation procedures, sample preparation methods, and instrument configurations are outlined for a variety of analyses.
Date: January 1, 1979
Creator: McDowell, W.J.
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