Development and Implementation of a Low-Background Radiodating Facility at Hope College

Student Author(s)

Nick Hubley

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Paul DeYoung; Dr. Graham Peaslee

Document Type


Event Date



Measurement of γ rays produced by radioactive isotopes within sediment can be used to determine the rate of sedimentation or to track sediment transport through the watershed. To accurately measure the type and abundance of radioactive isotopes within sediment samples, a low-background γ-ray counting facility is needed. This requires detectors encased in multi-layer shielding (plastic, copper, and lead layers) to block natural ambient radiation. Such a facility at Hope College has been developed with four high-purity Germanium detectors that detect a wide range of environmental radioisotopes in sediment samples with high precision and low background. Examples of their use in environmental measurements of sediment fingerprinting of radioisotopes such as 137Cs and 210Pb in the Lake Macatawa watershed will also be shown.

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