Betaspectr - Department of Physics Indiana University(HOM...

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Department of Physics, Indiana University (HOM, January 2000) Beta Spectrum Goal: to investigate the spectrum of β rays emitted by a 137 Cs source. The instrument used is a so-called 180 o magnetic spectrometer that separates β rays of different momenta by the fact that they follow different paths in a magnetic field. 1. Introduction The continuous spectrum of β rays emitted from a radioactive source has been explained by Fermi 1 [FER34]. Introductions into the theory of β decay can be found in many texts 2, 3, 4, 5 . Aside from the Fermi decay, there exists also a process called 'Internal Conversion' (of nuclear excitation energy) which leads to discrete lines in the β spectrum (ref. 2, p.396, ref. 5, p.362). A lot of interesting information on internal conversion is contained in a PhD thesis 6 of a former IU student. Here, it is assumed that you have learned enough about β decay to be able to answer the following questions: What determines the shape of the continuous spectrum? What is a Kurie plot? Can you explain the Internal Conversion process? In this experiment we study the β decay of the 137 Cs nucleus that includes both, the Fermi decay and the internal conversion. You can find a lot of detailed information on this decay in ref. 7. Try to answer the following: What is the half-life of 137 Cs? What is the highest energy β rays that are emitted from 137 Cs? What role does the nucleus 137 Ba play in all of this? What are the expected energies of the conversion lines? Draw a decay scheme with the relevant details using information from ref. 7.
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Betaspectr - Department of Physics Indiana University(HOM...

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