Alpha energies of different sources with MCA

Article no. P2522015 | Type: Experiments

45 Minutes
45 Minutes
Teachers/Professors , Students


An alpha-spectrometer, consisting of a photodetector, a preamplifier, a pulse height analyser and a recording device for registration of the spectra is calibrated by means of an open alpha-emitter of known alpha energy (241-Am). The energy spectrum of a radium source which is in equilibrium with its decay products, is recorded and evaluated. The alpha-energies found in this way are allocated to the corresponding nuclides of the radium decay series.


  • Experience the essence of the Nobel Prizes: Rutherford (1908)
  • The combination of multichannel analyzer (MCA), preamplifier and alphadetector leads to precise results
  • No vacuum required
  • MCA and preamplifier can be used in many other experiments


  1. The Alpha-spectrum of the 226-Ra is recorded with multichannel analyzer.
  2. The calibration spectrum of the open 241-Am alpha-emitter is recorded at the same settings.
  3. The alpha-energies corresponding to the individual peaks of the alpha spectrum of the radium are calculated and compared to the values in the literature.

Learning objectives

  • Decay series
  • Radioactive equilibrium
  • Isotopic properties
  • Decay energy
  • Particle energy
  • Potential well model of the atomic nucleus
  • Tunnel effect
  • Geiger-Nuttal law
  • Semiconductor
  • Barrier layer

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