Production of Co-60 sources for high-accuracy efficiency calibrations of gamma-ray spectrometers Academic Article uri icon


  • Activity determination by gamma-ray spectrometry is a valuable aid which is widely used where radioactive sources are applied. For the construction of an efficiency curve vs. energy in a standard geometry, the accuracy is limited not only by the uncertainty of peak area determination and the knowledge of the relevant emission probabilities but also by the uncertainties of the activity values applied to efficiency calibration with standard sources. Recently, a method to determine a relative efficiency function using selected radionuclides with gamma cascades of well known emission probabilities has been developed which yields very accurate efficiency values. Such a curve has to be converted into an absolute efficiency curve by calibration of the detector system with at least one source of very well known activity. Especially for this purpose, a set of Co-60 gamma-ray spectrometer sources was produced at the PTB. The activity values (10-45 kBq) were measured by the 4pi beta-gamma coincidence technique with a standard uncertainty of less than 0.1%. Production and measurement of these sources are described in the present paper. Special care was taken to include all contributions to the standard uncertainty of the activity value when establishing the uncertainty budget for the activity of each of these sources. The activity ratio of two of these sources, as obtained by the absolute measurements, was checked by independent gamma-ray counting at two other laboratories, where the precision achieved was less than 0.2%. The procedure described is considered to be a step towards more accurately determined efficiency functions in gamma-ray spectrometry.

author list (cited authors)

  • Schönfeld, E., Janssen, H., Klein, R., Hardy, J. C., Iacob, V., Sanchez-Vega, M., Griffin, H. C., & Ludington, M. A.

citation count

  • 27

publication date

  • January 2002