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Gamma spectrometry

Gamma radiation is released when unstable atomic nuclei (nuclides) decay. The gamma radiation released is characteristic of the respective radionuclide. Some nuclides show different gamma transitions with different relative frequencies (keyword: nuclear level diagram), which is why several lines can be assigned to a single nuclide. For example, entire decay series such as uranium (in our case 238U) and thorium (232Th) can be measured and any imbalances detected.

balances result in the addition or removal of mobile daughter nuclides from the decay series, which can be recognised using gamma spectrometry. This is essential for luminescence dating, for example, as the radioactivity over time (dose rate) is the basis for calculating the age of the sample.