Nuclear Lab Suite

The nuclear and radiochemistry suite in Physics Chemistry consists of five interconnected rooms (1200 sq ft) designed for the handling and measurement of radioactive materials. Instrumentation housed in the suite includes:

  • Three >25% efficiency intrinsic germanium high resolution gamma and X-ray spectrometers. Two detectors were made by Canberra and the third by E, G & G Ortec, each seated in 30 L liquid nitrogen dewar cryostats with nitrogen alarms and high voltage shutoff. Genie 2000 software is used for gamma ray collection and analyses. 4” lead background shielding with Cd/Cu liners surround all the germanium detectors.
  • Perkin Elmer Tricarb Liquid Scintillation Counter (LSC) for measurement of beta emitting radionuclides.
  • Protean MPC 2000 alpha beta counter with P-10 gas for alpha beta determination.
  • Neutron howitzer with a 3 Curie Americium-Beryllium neutron source (Am-Be) with a neutron yield of 6.4 x 106 n/sec. This source has been used to generate short half-life radionuclides for student use. A large number of sealed “button” sources that have long half-lives (137Cs, 60Co, 90Sr, etc.) for spectrometer calibration and student experiments and some Mini-Generators for making short half-life radionuclides are also available.
  • Variety of sodium iodide gamma ray detectors.
  • 5 Geiger Muller (GM) tubes housed in low level iron castles with scaler/timers.

The nuclear suite includes chemical resistant stainless-steel benches, three stainless steel fume hoods, three sinks with tap and DI water, and a safety shower/eyewash station.  Compressed air, dry nitrogen, natural gas and house vacuum jets are distributed throughout. The radioisotope storage room is built with solid concrete block in the surrounding walls and contains stainless steel shelving and a pit for radioactive waste and high activity source storage. The suite includes a wide variety of glassware, planchets, NIM bins, high voltage power supplies, timers, and single channel analyzers. A 100 L dewar is also located in the lab for transferring house liquid nitrogen.

Madison Accelerator Laboratory

Students and faculty also have access to the Madison Accelerator Laboratory (MAL) operated by the JMU Physics and Astronomy. MAL has a Siemens Medical Linear Accelerator, X-ray imaging, and a range of detectors. More information about facilities and equipment can be found on the MAL website.

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