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AN34 Overview

The experiments outlined in this laboratory manual are the result of many years of developing and refining experiments in nuclear science for the undergraduate laboratory. It is recommended that each laboratory course manager select the appropriate experiments, and modify them to suit the specific needs and equipment in the intended program.

Recommended Equipment

For each experiment, a list of recommended equipment has been provided. Equivalent equipment can be substituted to utilize existing inventory, or to update to newer models.

Several experiments call for a special apparatus to hold the samples, detectors and/or filters, and to control the geometry of the experiment. Originally, Professor Jerome L. Duggan operated a company to supply the filter kits, radioactive source kits and special apparatus. Subsequent to his retirement, that source of supply has been discontinued. Consequently, the laboratory course manager will need to access an alternative source of supply for those items. In most cases, sufficient information is provided to guide the laboratory manager in sourcing or developing those items.

Scope and Focus

The series of experiments included in this Laboratory Manual provide an introduction to the various techniques that are currently used to study nuclear science and a framework to help the student learn. The methodology, list of equipment, and step-by-step instructions that are needed are included in each experiment, together with sufficient reference material and theoretical information about the experiment to help the student interpret results.

Many of the experiments are applicable to the major disciplines that are involved in nuclear science. These include physics, chemistry, biology, radiopharmacy, nuclear engineering, and other specialized nuclear technologies. Based on recommendations by knowledgeable consultants, the following experiments are suggested for the various disciplines.

Physics -
Chemistry -
Biology -
Radiopharmacy -
Nuclear Engineering -
Nuclear Technology -
1 through 21, and 23 through 26.
1 through 6, and 12, 17, 23, 24, and 26.
1 through 7, and 12, 17, 22, 23, and 24.
1 through 6, and 17, 22, 23, and 24.
1 through 9, and 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 23 through 26.
1 through 6, and 12, 17, 22, 23, and 24.

The series of experiments that are appropriate to nuclear technology are also appropriate for nuclear technician training. Other combinations of experiments can be derived for use in other fields of interest such as environmental studies, medical research, quality control and many more in the growing list of nuclear applications.

Most of the 26 experiments are divided into parts that can be completed in an average time of 30 to 45 minutes and can be performed independently. For example, Experiment 3 deals with gamma-ray spectroscopy and includes Experiments 3.1 through 3.10. All experiments that are to be made, however, should be done in sequence. The experiments are provided for educational purposes and can be duplicated for class use as desired.


ORTEC wishes to thank the author, Professor Jerome L. Duggan, University of North Texas, for writing these experiments and for his continued support of this effort from rough draft to publication. ORTEC also wishes to thank university professors all over the world for their comments and suggestions.

The author wishes to thank Professor Dollard Desmarais of the University of Alberta, Canada, for his assistance with Experiments 21, 25, and 26. He also wishes to thank the many university professors throughout the world who have performed the experiments with their students in the first three editions of this manual, and were kind enough to send their comments and suggestions to us for consideration in our revisions.

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