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Using Radon as a Source of High Energy Alpha Particles

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000241769D
Publication Date: 2015-May-29
Document File: 2 page(s) / 57K

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The IP.com Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method to enhance the adsorption of radon and using the radon as a source of high energy alpha particles.

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Using Radon as a Source of High Energy Alpha Particles

Alpha particle emission sources are often needed to calibrate charged particle detectors and to determine the proper operation . The sources can be expensive, and often require a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to obtain radioactive sources.

Disclosed herein is a method to make a source of high energy alpha particles ; by charging an electrical insulator to high negative voltage (i.e. rubbing Teflon with glass), it is possible to attract the radioactive radon daughter isotopes . Two sets of alpha particles decay after the charged Teflon is no longer exposed to the ambient air :

• 7.7 MeV alphas, from 222Rn, with a four-hour life time
• 8.8 MeV and 6.1 MeV alphas from 212Po and 212Bi, respectively, with a ~10 hour half life

This technique produces a moderately high flux of alpha particles from the radon adsorbed onto the Teflon, which can be used for detector calibration, Single Event Upset (SEU) tests, and other experiments requiring a moderate flux of high -energy alpha particles. Alternatively, a process has to expose the sample to high levels of radon for a long period, which presents safety problems.

In an example embodiment, two identically sized samples (300 mm diameter) were exposed to ambient air for 24 hours. The samples were located side-by side. The first sample was a 300 mm diameter Teflon disk taped onto a 300 mm glass wafer. The top surface of the Teflon is charged to -HV by rubb...