Here are some posters presented by students who have worked for me the past few years on a NSF-REU research grant.

My students studied the development of low cost "cheap" radiation detectors for radioisotopes.






The detection of radioisotopes using a thin scintillating fiber in a spiral

Adam William Jernigan and Eric Blue. University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC

The purpose of this experiment was to develop an inexpensive detector, for radioactive isotopes, that could be used in fieldwork. This experiment required the use of a thin, long, inexpensive, plastic scintillator fiber, cardboard tube, aluminum foil, multi-channel analyzer, voltage source, and a computer. The sources used for the experiment were Sr-90, Tl-204, Cs-137 and Co-60 allowing for studies of both gamma and beta radiation. These source types are the most prevalent in the biomedical and chemical fields. Through this process a simulation of the apparatus was designed in a Monte Carlo program using C++. Initially the scintillator cable was placed into a dark box through which readings were taken, to determine the attenuation of light in different positions on the cable. This attenuation curve was used, in the Monte Carlo program, to simulate the experiments and account for the attenuation of light as it propagates through the cable when it is spiraled around the cardboard tube. The cable was then tested in a spiral configuration wrapped around a tube. Small radioisotope samples were passed through the center of the tube, allowing detection of the source by the cable. Experimental and Monte Carlo results are compared and the sensitivity of the detector, to source type and location, are reported.

PowerPoint slide of above abstract.

The identification of radioisotopes using a thick and thin panel

Randall Blue, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Pembroke, NC

In today's society there is an enhanced need for low cost methods of detecting radioactive isotopes. The need for a detector is fueled by the rising threats to world security. This experiment analyzes if radioactive isotopes leave distinct three-dimensional patterns that can be accessed and used for possible identification of a radioactive source. The experiment utilized thick and thin scintillator panels made from relatively cheap plastic scintillators. The thin panel was placed on top of the thick, and then the particle count was recorded for each of the radioactive sources. The thin panel records a small portion of energy as the particles pass through it, while the thick panel stops the particles and records the remaining energy of the particles. There were four weak non-regulated radioactive sources used in the experiment. Strontium/Yitrium-90 (1nCi) and Thallium-204 (1nCi) were the beta particle emitters, with Cesium-137 (0.1μCi) and Cobalt-60 (0.1μCi) acting as gamma particle emitters. The particle count from each panel was placed in a matrix to establish a method of identifying isotopes in a 2-D model. Two-dimensional histograms that compare the thin to thick panel energy are simulated in a Monte Carlo program. The simulations revealed that each radioactive source produced its own fingerprint that is useful in isotope identification. Further research applications with this technique can be merged within the medical industry for maintaining medical waste.

PowerPoint slide of above abstract.



Janet Sanford presented work from the summer of 2005.

She presented at,

  o       Radiation Detection Multi Channel Analyzer and a Phototube: The study of a flat panel scintillator Janet Sanford, Chris George, Thomas Dooling  


o  October, 2005 - Society of Physics Students Zone 5 Meeting- UNCP  
o  March, 2006(NC-LSAMP) Undergraduate Research Conference ( 1st Place in Chemistry Division !) at NC A&T

April, 2006 -National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR 20)At UNC Ashville (This was a national peer reviewed conference!)

The power point slide can be viewed here.  


Maureen Sikes and Natasha McNair carried out preliminary work in the summer of 2004

They presented at,

November, 2004

SERMACS (Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society)A Monte Carlo Simulation of Energy Deposited in Scinti-Safe Plus 50% by a Charged ParticleMaureen J. Sikes ,Natasha McNair, Tom Dooling(Advisor)  

October, 2004

Society of Physics Students Zone 5 MeetingA Monte Carlo Simulation of Energy Deposited in Scinti-Safe Plus 50% by a Charged ParticleMaureen J. Sikes, Natasha McNair, Tom Dooling(Advisor)

  October, 2004

Society of Physics Students Zone 5 MeetingThe Detection of Radioactive Decay Products in Liquid Scintillator

Maureen's Presentation is here.

and Natahsa's here.