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Viewing: NE 521 : Principles of Radiation Measurement

Last approved: Wed, 28 Oct 2015 09:31:27 GMT

Last edit: Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:23:47 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
NE (Nuclear Engineering)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Principles of Radiation Measurement
Principles of Rad Measurement
College of Engineering
Nuclear Engineering (14NE)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Every Year
Fall 2014
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
John Mattingly
Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture2424NoOne lecture section is offered; all students attend the lectures together.
Laboratory248YesMultiple lab sections are offered; nominally there are 8 students per lab section.
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in Nuclear Engineering or instructor permission

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
Radiation detection measurement methods employed in nuclear engineering. Topics include: physics of nuclear decay and nuclear reactions, interaction of charged particles, photons, and neutrons with matter, fundamental properties of radiation measurement systems, statistical analysis of radiation measurements, common radiation detectors (gas-filled detectors, scintillators, and semiconductor detectors), data acquisition and processing methods, and radiation measurement applications.

The catalog description has not been revised.  It is the same as the current catalog description.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

No new resources are required. The course is taught by Dr. John Mattingly, who was hired to the Nuclear Engineering (NE) faculty in June 2011 to teach this course (and other existing NE courses). The NE teaching laboratory is sufficiently equipped for the course lab sessions.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Quantitatively describe the properties of radiation emitted by nuclear decay and reactions.

  • Quantitatively describe how different types of radiation interact with matter.

  • Identify the properties and describe the functioning of radiation measurement system components.

  • Describe the layout of nuclear pulse processing systems.

  • Construct and operate nuclear pulse processing systems.

  • Perform statistical analysis of radiation measurements.

  • Demonstrate how to use the most common types of radiation detectors.

  • Apply data acquisition and processing methods used in radiation measurements.

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Homework25Students submit solutions to 10 homework assignments.
Lab Report15Students submit full reports on 4 laboratory experiments.
Other10Students take a laboratory exam at the end of the semester to demonstrate proficiency with the lab equipment.
Midterm25Students take 2 closed-book midterm exams covering subjects discussed in lecture prior to each midterm.
Final Exam25Students take a closed-book, comprehensive final exam.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
Introduction1 lecture• Ionizing radiation
• Principles of radiation measurement
• Nuclear instrumentation
• Factors affecting radiation measurements
• Course agenda
Radiation sources3 lectures• Terminology, nomenclature, and units
o Nuclides
o Nuclide groups
 Isotopes
 Isotones
 Isobars
o Mass and energy units
• Nuclear decay
o Nuclear instability and the chart of the nuclides
o Beta decay
 Beta-minus emission
 Beta-plus emission / electron capture
o Alpha decay
o Nuclear energy levels
 Excited states
 Gamma emission
 Isomers
o Spontaneous fission
o Other decay modes
o Nuclear binding energy and Q-values
o Kinematics of nuclear decay and reactions
o Decay schemes and decay series
o Radioactive half-life
o Radioactive decay series
• Nuclear reactions
Interaction of radiation with matter3 lectures• Charged particle energy loss and range
• Photon interactions
o Photoelectric absorption
o Compton scatter
o Pair production
• Neutron interactions
o Types of neutron reactions
o Neutron reaction cross-sections
Basic properties of radiation measurement systems3 lectures• Detection mechanisms
• Modes of operation
o Current mode
o Pulse mode
• Detection efficiency
o Geometric effects (solid angle)
o Intrinsic efficiency
• Pulse height spectra
o Linearity vs. energy
o Energy resolution
• Timing resolution
• Dead-time effects
o Non-paralyzable
o Paralyzable
Statistical properties of radiation measurements3 lectures• Accuracy vs. precision
• Probabilistic nature of nuclear decay
• Random variables and probability distributions
• Location statistics: mode, mean, and median
• Dispersion statistics: variance and standard deviation
• Covariance and correlation
• Probability distributions important in radiation measurements
o Binomial distribution
o Poisson distribution
o Normal (a.k.a., Gaussian) distribution
o Standard deviation, full-width half-max, and confidence intervals
• Propagation of uncertainty
o Combining different random variables
 Uncorrelated variables
 Correlated variables
o Uncertainty in mean values
 Arithmetic mean
 Inverse-variance-weighted mean
Scintillators2 lectures• Inorganic scintillators
o Scintillation process
o Photon emission time dependence
o Important properties
o Gamma spectroscopy
• Organic scintillators
o Scintillation process
o Types of organic scintillators
 Crystalline
 Amorphous plastic
 Liquid
o Pulse-shape discrimination
o Neutron and gamma detection
• Pulse height vs. energy (nonlinearity)
o Inorganic scintillators
o Organic scintillators
• Photomultiplier tube (PMT)
o Operating principle
o Electron multiplication
o Optical coupling
Gas-filled detectors2 lectures• Operating principles
• Charge collected vs. high voltage
• Types of gas-filled detectors
o Ionization chambers
o Proportional counters
o Geiger-Mueller counters
Semiconductor detectors2 lectures• Insulators vs. conductors vs. semiconductors
• Intrinsic vs. extrinsic semiconductors
• The p-n junction
o Formation
o Operation as a radiation detector
• Different types of semiconductor detectors
o Surface barrier
o Lithium-drifted silicon - Si(Li)
o Lithium-drifted germanium - Ge(Li)
o High purity germanium - HPGe
o CdTe and CdZnTe
• Medium- and high-resolution gamma spectroscopy
Signal processing2 lectures• Linear vs. logic pulses and pulse processing components
• Coaxial signal cable properties
• Pulse shaping
o Ballistic deficit
o Pileup, baseline shift, and energy resolution
• Discriminator timing
o Leading-edge discriminator
o Zero-crossing discriminator
o Constant-fraction discriminator
• Coincidence and anticoincidence
• Pulse-shape discrimination
Gamma spectroscopy2 lectures• Low- vs. high-resolution gamma spectroscopy
• Gamma spectral features
o Photopeaks
o Compton continua
o Positron annihilation peak
o Escape peaks
o Backscatter peak
o Sum peaks
• Radionuclide identification
Neutron measurements2 lectures• Detection by (n, charged particle) reactions
o BF3
o Boron-lined
o 6Li
o 3He
• Fission chambers
• Organic scintillators
• Neutron spectrum measurements
o Using proton recoil
o Using time-of-flight
• Neutron time-correlation measurements
Nuclear pulse processing systems1 lab• Radiation detection pulses
• Preamplifiers
• Amplifiers
• Discriminators
o Single-channel analyzers
o Multichannel analyzers
• Counter/timers
• Oscilloscope
Statistical properties of pulse counting systems1 lab• Propagation of uncertainty
• Mean count rate
• Variance and standard deviation
• Confidence intervals
• Absolute measurements and propagation of uncertainty
High-resolution gamma spectroscopy1 lab• Gamma spectroscopy system construction
• Energy calibration
• Energy resolution
• Detection efficiency
• Radionuclide identification
Coincidence counting1 lab• Cobalt-60 decay scheme
• Absolute measurement of source activity
• Absolute measurement of detection efficiency
The only change I am requesting is to change the prerequisite from NE202 to 'Graduate standing in Nuclear Engineering or instructor permission'.

NE202 is the Nuclear Engineering department's undergraduate radiation detection course. Students graduating with a BS in NE from NCSU will meet this prerequisite. However, this course, NE521, is an entry-level course taken by most new NE graduate students. Students admitted to the NE graduate program from other schools will not have taken NE202, but they are qualified to take the course. So graduate standing in Nuclear Engineering is a sufficient prerequisite.

Furthermore, students in other disciplines (e.g., Physics) occasionally request to take this course, NE521. I would like to retain the ability to admit them to NE521 at my discretion.

So, I would like to change the prerequisite to 'Graduate standing in Nuclear Engineering or instructor permission'.

CIM forced me to populate all the other required fields associated with this course, NE521. There really needs to be a mechanism in CIM to submit requests for minor course changes, like a change in the prerequisites.

Furthermore, the topical outline in CIM is completely and thoroughly redundant - this information is contained in the syllabus.

mlnosbis 9/23/2015: Does not appear to conflict with other courses. No consult required.

ghodge 9/23/2015 Ready for ABGS reviewers. This CAF could probably placed on the meeting consent agenda. This is the first edit to the course since moving to CIM, so all items needed to be entered into the form. CIM is the electronic repository for all course actions. Only a few of the data elements can be imported from SIS.

ABGS Reviewer comments:
-This is a minor action. Okay to send to Board.
rfillin (Wed, 23 Sep 2015 13:38:02 GMT): The only request here is to change the Prerequisite. However, this minor change still requires the same process as if it were a new course.
Key: 4046