Some elements are unstable. To get to a stable state, their atomic core needs either to get rid of matter or charge. It emits alpha particles to reduce mass or beta particles to reduce charge. Often this shoot-out of particles is accompanied by high-energetic electromagnetic waves called gamma radiation. The whole process is called radioactivity.
Fortunately, materials exist, that are sensitive for such radiation. The detectors we use are made of these materials. If gamma radiation hits the detector, a quantum-mechanical reaction occurs. It starts to emit light, but this light is still very weak.
Because the light is weak, it needs to become much stronger. This is done with a so-called photomultiplier (PMT) or a semiconductor called SiPM. Whenever light is seen by a unit it uses a clever electronic amplification setup to generate a whole avalanche of electrons. It thus generates electronic signals that we can interpret.
A tiny piece of electronics called the multi-channel analyzer (MCA) acquires the signals from the photomultiplier. The MCA itself has rather powerful processor power. It looks into each signal and filters out their area. The area is proportional to the energy of the original gamma radiation and gives us now a fingerprint of the radiation. From the energies, the MCA calculates the energy spectrum of the radiation (right picture). Here, the example of cesium 137Cs is shown.
The MCA is connected to a miniaturized computer board. The innoRIID user software runs on this computer and allows that the user can interact with the MCA. Display, sound, keys and all other periphery is attached to it.
Of course, things are not as easy as described above. This explanation gives only a glimpse onto the physical complexity of the detection process. To be constantly at the edge of science, innoRIID developers and engineers are taking vital part in the international research regarding the fields of detection physics, but also artificial intelligence, machine learning , novel radiation detectors, sparsification, deconvolution techniques and embedded system development. Below, you can find a publication list. All members of the research & development team at innoRIID have worked for other companies in the field before, so this list is in fact incomplete. It only regards to those works performed under the auspices of innoRIID GmbH. For further publications of our team, please follow the references in the papers.
If you would like to get in touch with us regarding a research cooperation, please send an email to: m.neuer(at)innoriid.com.