Nuclear Spectroscopy
For Student Groups

Why do nuclear substances decay spontaneously? How much energy is released at a nuclear decay? Quantitative measurements and the subsequent analysis of the energy spectra of different alpha, beta and gamma emitters are the main task in this course.

Book Nuclear Spectroscopy

16 to 21 years
0.5 to 1 day
Maximum number of participants


  • Alpha spectroscopy with semiconductor detector
  • Beta spectroscopy by deflection in a magnetic field
  • Gamma spectroscopy with scintillation counter

In this course, the participants measure the energy of individual alpha and beta particles and gamma quanta. The energy distribution resulting from a large number of measurements gives insights into the physical processes of the radioactive decay. The discrete energy of alpha particles is measures by the participants using semiconductor detectors. Using magnetic beta spectroscopes, they measure the continuous spectrum of beta particles. Due to the high velocities, the corresponding calculations have to consider relativistic effects. The discrete energy of gamma quanta is measured using scintillation counters. Besides specific radionuclides, XLAB provides different naturally radioactive samples where radioactive isotopes can be identified. Furthermore, the participants can analyze their own samples.


Nuclei, radioactivity and elementary particles; Solids and semiconductors; Definition and forms of energy