Intense radioluminescence of NO/N-2-mixture in solar blind spectral region

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Kerst , T & Toivonen , J 2018 , ' Intense radioluminescence of NO/N-2-mixture in solar blind spectral region ' , Optics Express , vol. 26 , no. 26 , pp. 33764-33771 .

Title: Intense radioluminescence of NO/N-2-mixture in solar blind spectral region
Author: Kerst, Thomas; Toivonen, Juha
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Physics
Date: 2018-12-24
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Optics Express
ISSN: 1094-4087
Abstract: Luminescence in air induced by alpha particle emitters can be used to optically detect radioactive contamination from distances that surpass the range of the alpha radiation itself. Alpha particles excite nitrogen molecules in air and the relaxation creates a faint light emission. When the composition of the gases surrounding the alpha particle emitter is altered then the luminescence spectrum changes. In this work. we report the creation of an intense light emission in the wavelength regime below 300 nm originating from alpha particle excited nitric oxide (NO). The light yield has been investigated as a function of the NO concentration in an N-2 atmosphere. Unlike the emission from molecular nitrogen, NO emits at wavelengths shorter than 300 nm, where solar background and artificial lighting am negligible, thus enabling optical detection of alpha radiation even under bright lighting conditions. We show that the radioactively induced NO emission reaches its maximum intensity at a concentration of 50 ppm of NO diluted in N-2. At this concentration, the strongest emission line of NO is about 25 times more intense than the most intense line of N-2 radioluminescence. Lastly, we discuss potential applications and limitations of the technique. (C) 2018 Optical Society of America under the terms of the OSA Open Access Publishing Agreement
Subject: NO
114 Physical sciences

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