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Outline

Chapter 3
Terms: activity, half life, average life
The Fundamentals of Nuclear
Nuclear disintegration schemes
Physics Parent-daughter relationships
Radiation Dosimetry I Activation of isotopes

Text: H.E Johns and J.R. Cunningham, The


physics of radiology, 4th ed.
http://www.utoledo.edu/med/depts/radther

Natural radioactivity Activity


Activity number of disintegrations per unit time;
Particles inside a nucleus are in constant motion; directly proportional to the number of atoms
can escape if acquire enough energy present
Most lighter atoms with Z<82 (lead) have at least
N Average
one stable isotope A N N 0 e t / t a lifetime
All atoms with Z > 82 are radioactive and t
disintegrate until a stable isotope is formed ta= 1.44 th
Artificial radioactivity: nucleus can be made A N 0 e 0.693t / th
A0 2 t / t h
unstable upon bombardment with neutrons, high Half-life
energy protons, etc.
Units: Bq = 1/s, Ci=3.7x 1010 Bq

Activity Activity

Emitted radiation

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Example 1 Example 1A
A prostate implant has a half-life of 17 days.
A prostate implant has a half-life of 17 days. If the
What percent of the dose is delivered in the first
initial dose rate is 10cGy/h, what is the total dose
day?
N N delivered?
2 t / th or e t Dtotal D 0tavg
A. 0.5 N 0 N 0

A. 9
th
0.693t 0.693t
B. 2 2 t / th 2 1/17 0.96 B. 29 Dtotal D 0 e

th
dt D 0 e
th

C. 4 0.693 0
D. 15 e 0.693t / th e 0.6931/17 0.96 C. 59 0

E. 30
D. 75 D 0t avg 0 1 D 0t avg
Delivered : 4% E. 300
Gy 17d h
10 10 2 24 59Gy
h 0.693 d

Decay schemes
Example 2
Initial activity of an 123I sample (th = 13 h) injected A decay (disintegration)
in the blood is 480 MBq. After 12 h measured scheme depicts possible
activity is 20 MBq / l. Assuming the volume of the routes of radioactive
blood is 6 l find biological half-life, h. decay for a nuclide:
A. 4 A0 480 / 6 80 M Bq/l 1) a decay
B. 6
C. 9 A1 A0 2
t / t eff
; A1 / A0 1 / 4 2 2 2) b+ (positron) decay or
electron capture
D. 11 teff 6 h
E. 13 3) b- (negatron) decay
1 / teff 1 / t I 1 / tb 4) isomeric transition
1 1
tb 11 h Hendee, Ritenour, Medical imaging physics, 4th edition, fig. 3-1, p.29

1 / teff 1 / t I 1 / 6 1 / 13

Alpha disintegrations Beta disintegrations


Emission of helium nucleus, mainly from Ejection of positive or negative electron
heavy nuclei
Positron (b+) or negatron (b-) emitters
Proton-rich nucleus emits positron,
neutron-rich emits electron
b emission : n p b ~ Z increases by 1
b emission : p n b Z decreases by 1

In beta-minus emission an antineutrino is emitted instead of neutrino. They have


opposite helicity (projection of spin on direction of momentum)

2
Beta disintegrations Beta disintegrations
The ejected beta particle shares its energy with
Co-60 decay scheme: neutrino (anti-neutrino), and therefore may have
energy in a continuous spectrum up to Emax
Energy is released in
transitions from
excited levels of Ni-60
to the ground state via
emission of gamma
rays (average g-ray
energy 1.25MeV)

Image from https://www.boundless.com

Beta disintegrations Electron capture


In the production of isotopes in a nuclear reactor a
neutron is usually added to a stable nucleus,
A
Z X Z A1 Q
resulting in b- emitters
Orbital electron can be captured by nucleus
Example: to produce 60Co a neutron is added to 59Co
Particle accelerators (more expensive) produce p + e (usually K electron) n +
b+ emitters
Since 2m0c2=1.022 MeV energy is required to This process is competing with positron emission
produce electron-positron pair this is the minimum in proton-rich nuclei
difference between the initial and final energy The only process when the energy difference
(parent-daughter) for b+ emitters between the initial and final state <1.022 MeV

Isomeric transitions:
Isomeric transitions Photon emission
Isomeric transitions: no Technetium is predominantly an artificially produced
change in A or Z radioactive metal. Example: 9942Mo (th=66.7 hours)
Always preceded by another produced in nuclear reactors by b- decay to 99m43Tc
transition, leaving nucleus in All isotopes are radioactive, most common: 9943Tc (th=
excited state 210,000 years) and 99m43Tc (th= 6 hours)
Energy is released by 99mTc is widely used
Emission of a photon as a tracer for medical diagnosis (g of 140 keV is detected
Internal conversion with gamma-camera)
Metastable state: an excited functional scans of brain, bone, liver, spleen, kidney, thyroid
Simplified radioactive decay scheme for 99Mo
Hendee, Ritenour, Medical imaging physics, 4th edition, fig. 3-7 state with the lifetime >10-6 s for blood flow studies

3
Isomeric transitions:
Internal conversion Auger electron production
A hole in K, L, or M shell has to be filled
Nucleus relaxes to the ground state The relative probability of the emission of characteristic
Alternatively to a g-ray emission an orbital radiation to the emission of the Auger electron is called
fluorescence yield
electron may be ejected with the energy E= g -Eb
Fluorescence yield is higher for larger Z
Before

Charts of isotopes Decay series


Almost all the radioactive isotopes of the lighter
elements achieve stability by keeping their mass
number constant, through beta decay or K capture
Decay is usually along an isobaric line (constant
mass number) and often involves a number of
successive transitions before stability is reached

Isobaric line for mass number 90

Nuclear transformations Example 3


A Z Energy deposition
a disintegration -4 -2 Total energy of a particle The mass number (A) changes only for
b- decay 0 +1 Emean~1/3 Emax
____ decay:
b+ decay 0 -1 Emean~1/3 Emax and
Eg=1.02 MeV
Electron capture 0 -1 Most energy carried away by ; A. alpha
EFluorescence and/or EAuger B. beta minus
Isomeric transitions 0 0
C. beta plus
g ray 0 0 Eg available
D. electron capture
Internal conversion 0 0 Eelectron=Eg-Eb E. isomeric
EFluorescence and/or EAuger

4
Example 4 Growth of radioactive daughter
99 -> 99m43Tc -> 9943Tc
42Mo Radioactive daughter is formed at the rate at
I II which the parent decays (1), and itself decays
with a different rate (2)
In the above decay of molybdenum, the modes of
decay labeled (I) and (II) are, respectively:
dN 2
1 N1 2 N 2
A. beta minus, isomeric transition dt
1
N1 )0 e t e t
B. isomeric transition, beta minus
C. beta plus, isomeric transition Solution: N2 1 2

D. beta minus, beta minus 2 1


E. electron capture, beta minus

Growth of radioactive daughter


Growth of radioactive daughter
2
Express the same solution for activity A2 A1
2 1

A2 A1
2
2 1
1 e( )t 2 1

For a special case of 2>>1 can simplify to


A2 A1 1 e 2t
After some time reach a state of parent-daughter
equilibrium, where A1=A2

Activation of isotopes
Example 5
Atomic nuclei can be activated by neutron
After ____ hours, 99mTc will be approximately in bombardment with the probability dependent on
radioactive equilibrium with its parent element the interaction cross section s
99Mo. (Half-lives are: 67 hours for 99Mo and 6 Number of activated atoms:
hours for 99mTc.)
A2 A1 2
1 e ( 2 1 ) t
N Ntst
A. 6 2 1
B. 24 1
A2 A1 1 e ( 2 1 )t 1 s ~ 10-24 cm2
C. 48 2
D. 54 1 1 0.693 0.693
t ln ; 1 ; 2
E. 268 1 2 2 t h1 th 2
1 67
t ln 10 x 2.4 24 h
0.7 / 6 0.7 / 70 6

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Activation of isotopes Example 6
More practically relevant quantity is the activity of What is the activity of a 20 g sample of 59Co
the irradiated sample A N Nts t irradiated in a neutron flux of 1014 neutrons/(cm2s)
for 6 years? Cross section s=36 barns, th=5.3 years.
If the bombardment
time t >> th, activity First find the number of atoms in the target
reaches its maximum Nt
m

20
2.04 1023
As Nts M / N A 59 /( 6.02 1023 )

Accounting for decay The activity at a time t:


during irradiation: )
A N ts 1 e 0.693t / th
)
A As 1 e0.693t / th )
1014 2.04 1023 36 1024 1 e 0.6936 / 5.3 4.0 1014 Bq

Nuclear fission and fusion Summary


Nuclear fission a nucleus is split into lighter Terms: activity, half life, average life
fragments with release of very large energy.
Nuclear disintegration schemes
Example:
Parent-daughter relationships
Activation of isotopes
Nuclear fusion two lighter atoms are fused into a
heavier one also with release of energy. Example:
~3.3 MeV