Basic Physics of Nuclear Medicine by Kieran Maher

By Kieran Maher

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The first point to note is that the Linear Attenuation Coefficient increases as the atomic number of the absorber increases. 000195 cm -1 for air at 100 keV to almost 60 cm-1 for lead. The second point to note is that the Linear Attenuation Coefficient for all materials decreases with the energy of the gamma-rays. 73 cm-1 at 500 keV. The third point to note is that the trends in the table are consistent with the analysis presented earlier. Finally it is important to appreciate that our analysis above is only strictly true when we are dealing with narrow radiation beams.

Illustration 1: Exponential attenuation expressed using a small, medium and large value of the Linear Attenuation Coefficient, µ. The Linear Attenuation Coefficient is characteristic of individual absorbing materials. Some like carbon have a small value and are easily penetrated by gamma-rays. 64 Table 2: Linear Attenuation Coefficients (in cm-1) for a range of materials at gamma-ray energies of 100, 200 and 500 keV. Wikibooks | 47 Chapter 6 The materials listed in the table above are air, water and a range of elements from carbon (Z=6) through to lead (Z=82) and their Linear Attenuation Coefficients are given for three gamma-ray energies.

5 mR hr-1 using Pb. 5 cm. External Links • Mucal on the Web - an online program which calculates x-ray absorption coefficients - by Pathikrit Bandyopadhyay, The Center for Synchrotron Radiation Research and Instrumentation at the Illinois Institute of Technology. • Tables of X-Ray Mass Attenuation Coefficients - a vast amount of data for all elements from National Institute of Science & Technology, USA. Multiple Choice Questions Click HERE to access an online MCQ covering the material in this chapter.

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