Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Environmental Engineering

Advisor

DeVol, Timothy A

Committee Member

Powell , Brian

Committee Member

Moysey , Stephen

Abstract

An on-line radiation detection and measurements lab is being developed with a grant from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The on-line laboratory experiments are designed to provide a realistic laboratory experience and will be offered to students at colleges/universities where such a course is not offered. This thesis presents four web-based experiments: 1) nuclear electronics, 2) gamma-ray spectroscopy with scintillation detectors, 3) external gamma-ray dosimetry and gamma attenuation in matter, and 4) alpha spectroscopy and absorption in matter. The students access the experiments through a broad-band internet connection. Computer-controlled instrumentation developed in National Instruments (NI) LabVIEWTM communicates with the URSA-II (SE International, Inc.) data acquisition system, which controls the detector bias voltage, pulse shaping, amplifier gain, and ADC. Detector and amplifier output pulses can be displayed with other instrumentation developed in LabVIEWTM for the digital oscilloscope (USB-5132, NI). Additional instrumentation developed in LabVIEWTM is used to control the positions of all sources with stepper motor controllers (VXM-1, Velmex, Inc.) and adjust pressure in the alpha chamber with a digital vacuum regulator (DVR-200, J-KEM, Inc.). Unique interactive interfaces are created by integrating all of the necessary instrumentation to conduct each lab. These interfaces provide students with seamless functionality for data acquisition control, experimental control, and live data display with real-time updates for each experiment. A webcam is set up to stream the experiment live so the student can observe the physical instruments and receive visual feedback from the system in real time.

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