Alpha-Recoil Tracks in Mica: Registration Efficiency

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Science  17 Oct 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3903, pp. 382-384
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3903.382


Recoils from alpha-particle decay of naturally occurring radioactive nuclides have energies between 70 and 169 kiloelectron volts. It is shown that these alpha recoils register tracks in mica, observable as etch pits, with an efficiency of about 80 percent. When the recoil energy is degraded to 40 kiloelectron volts the efficiency drops to 50 percent. But, since the decay of each thorium or uranium impurity atom in natural mica is followed by a cascade of six or eight alpha particles, the overall registration efficiency must be very nearly 100 percent.

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