Characterization of a 4παβ(LS)-γ(HPGe) prototype system for low-background measurements

S. Nissim, M. Brandis, O. Aviv, L. Arazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A ground-level prototype system for low-background measurements was developed and tested. The system consists of a high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector used for detecting γ rays and coupled to a liquid scintillator (LS) used for detecting α and β particles. Both detectors are surrounded by shielding materials and anti-cosmic detectors (“veto”) used to suppress background events. The energy and timestamp of detected α, β and γ emissions are recorded event-by-event and analyzed offline. By requiring timing coincidence between the HPGe and LS detectors, background events originating from outside the volume of the measured sample can be effectively rejected. The system performance was evaluated using liquid samples containing known activities of an α emitter (241Am) or a β emitter (60Co) whose decays are accompanied by γ rays. The LS detector was found to provide a solid angle of almost 4π for α and β particles. Compared to the traditional γ-singles mode, operating the system in coincidence mode (i.e., α-γ or β-γ) reduced the background counts by a factor of ∼100. Consequently, the minimal detectable activity for 241Am and 60Co was improved by a factor of 9, being 4 mBq and 1 mBq for an 11-d measurement, respectively. Furthermore, by applying a spectrometric cut in the LS spectrum that corresponds to α emission from 241Am, a background reduction factor of ∼2400 (compared to γ-singles mode) was achieved. Beyond low-background measurements, this prototype exhibits additional compelling features, such as the ability to focus on certain decay channels and study their properties. This concept for a measurement system may be of interest to laboratories that monitor environmental radioactivity, studies involving environmental measurements and/or trace-level radioactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110866
JournalApplied Radiation and Isotopes
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Detection efficiency
  • Gamma-ray spectrometry
  • HPGe
  • Low-background counting
  • LSC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation


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