Interaction of Radiation with Matter Summary

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DOE-HDBK-1019/1-93 Atomic and Nuclear Physics INTERACTION OF RADIATION WITH MATTER Rev. 0 Page 67 NP-01 Interaction of Radiation with Matter Summary An alpha particle deposits a large amount of energy in a short distance of travel due to its large mass and charge. Beta-minus particles interact with the electrons orbiting the nucleus of atoms, causing ionization by displacing the electrons.  The beta particle loses energy with each interaction.  After the beta particle loses enough energy, it is captured in the orbital shells of an atom. Positrons interact with matter much the same way as beta minus particles.  After the positron has lost most of its energy by ionizing atoms, it is annihilated by interaction with an electron.  The electron-positron pair disappear and are replaced by two gammas, each with the energy equivalent of the mass of an electron (0.51 MeV). Neutrons  interact  with  matter  by  elastic  scattering,  inelastic  scattering,  or absorption. Photoelectric effect is where a gamma interacts with an electron orbiting an atom. The entire energy of the gamma is transferred to the electron, and the electron is ejected from its orbit. In Compton scattering a gamma interacts with an orbital electron, but only part of the gamma energy is transferred to the electron.  The electron is ejected from its orbit, and the gamma is scattered off at a lower energy. In pair-production, a gamma interacts with the electric field of a nucleus and is converted into an electron-positron pair.  The gamma must have an energy greater than 1.02 MeV for this to occur. Summary The important information in this chapter is summarized below.


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