Radionuclides are unstable atoms that decay, releasing radiation. Radionuclides that release beta radiation (electrons) are used in a range of applications, but techniques to measure the precise energy levels (spectra) of beta radiation are not sufficiently accurate. For example, radionuclides are used in medical diagnosis, and a precise knowledge of the energy of beta emissions is important to ensure correct dosage. Yet the spectra of these nuclides often have large uncertainties. This project will develop theoretical and experimental approaches to measure the spectra of beta radiation to an unprecedented level of accuracy, including modelling the shape of spectra for the first time, and the development of novel beta radiation detection techniques. These methods will allow the energy of beta radiation to be measured with greater precision, supporting the more effective use of radionuclides in a broad range of applications, including medical diagnosis, nuclear power management, environmental protection and even the detection of neutrinos in astrophysics.
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Metrology for the accurate measurement of radionuclide beta spectra