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Experimental set-up for part A

Datalogger for the Geiger counter (output goes to a laptop in actual experiments)

Radiation measurement set-up for part A

Experimental set-up for part B

Experimental set-up for part B

Radioactive sources for part B

Fume cupboard where the radioactive material will be distributed from


In this session you will have learnt:

How to determine the half life of a radioactive isotope

About materials which undergo radioactive decay

How to produce visible tracks caused by a particle decay and recorded images of them

How to assess and represent graphically uncertainties in randomly occurring events

How to transfer data from the Cassy software to Excel

How to convert raw experimental data to Poisson and Gaussian curves using Excel

To keep and submit a clearly laid out set of laboratory notes


In this experiment you will learn about risks involved with different types of radioactive source, how to use computer data logging software to measure half life and the decay constant, the operation of a cloud chamber and how cloud chambers can be used to determine properties of alpha particles. You'll also learn about Poisson statistics.
Fuel Rods
Fig. 1: Cherenkov radiation from fuel
rods from here


Safety is a particular concern in this section due to the use of radioactive sources. Be sure to follow these guidelines and requirements to the letter. Note that some of the regulations are statutory in UK law. Failure to follow these rules may have serious consequences.

Please use this generic safety information in conjunction with additional information given here.



The script for this experiment can be found in the lab script book or on DUO.