Adam Varley

Adam Varley

PhD Research Student

BSc (Hons) Environmental Chemistry, Lancaster University (2008-2011)

Supervisors:
Dr. Andrew Tyler, Dr. David Copplestone, Prof. Leslie Smith

Start Date: 1st October 2011

3B155, Cottrell Building

Biological & Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Natural Sciences 
University of Stirling
Stirling, Scotland, FK9 4LA

tel: +44 (0)1786 466370
fax: +(44) 1786 467843 
email: Adam Varley

Research Project

In situ and mobile gamma ray spectroscopies have been used extensively for the past 60 years, particularly in contaminated land assessment and retrieval of intensively radioactive “hot” particles.

Up until the present, the efficiency and relative low-cost of large NaI:Tl scintillators and the outstanding resolution of super-cooled semi-conducting diodes (HPGe) have dominated detector choice. However, key limitations of these existing technologies have hindered practical application in the environment, and the search for a relatively inexpensive, robust, reliable detector setup, with the potential to accurately resolve individual radionuclide depth profiles, has become a focal point of research.

The recent development of cerium doped scintillators (LaCl, LaBr and CeBr) offers an exciting alternative to existing technologies, with large crystals demonstrating outstanding scintillator characteristics such as, high effective Z and density, very high light yield, fast decay times, robustness and outstanding resolution.

The intention of this PhD is to come up with a new approach to tackle the problems, such as depth profiling and retrieval of “hot” particles, which in recent years have hindered in situ and mobile gamma spectroscopy. This approach will use one of the cerium doped scintillators alongside new spectral processing techniques which use powerful probabilistic modelling software (MCNP) to train Artificial intelligence, to recognise specific patterns within spectra obtained from contaminated sites; allowing for accurate real time analysis.

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