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Chemistry 417: Nuclear and Radiochemistry

Course Level: 
Fourth Year
Academic Year: 
2014/2015

D.G. Fleming     Room: Chem D-130    E-mail: 

I BASIC CONCEPTS OF THE NUCLEUS (~2 1-hr Lectures)

I.1 Introductory Remarks and Historical Perspective
I.2 Rutherford Scattering and the Nuclear Size 
     A. Distance of closest approach, 'D'
     B. The nuclear radius, RN

II NUCLEAR MASSES, STABILITIES AND DENSITIES (~4 Lectures)

II.1 Aspects of Special Relativity and Mass-Energy: E = mc2
II.2 Nuclear Masses and Binding Energies
     A. The 'amu' and Avogadro's number
     B. Mass excess and binding energies (BE)
          a) The mass excess (Delta = M - A)
          b) The BE/nucleon. Nuclear fusion and ssion
II.3 Nuclear Forces and Densities
II.4 The Nuclear Q-value and Nuclear Stabilities
     A. The 'Delta-H' of nuclear reactions. Decay energies.
     B. Nucleon Separation Energies and "Magic Numbers"
[PROBLEM SET I]

III RADIOACTIVE DECAY AND GROWTH (~6 Lectures)

III.1 Simple Radioactivity
     A. The Basic process, half lives (t1/2) and mean lives (Tau)
     B. Measurement of activity and t1/2 determinations
          a) Absolute activity (4-pi detector)
          b) Half lives for a single radionuclide
          c) Mixtures of independent activities
III.2 Statistics and Error Propagation
     A. The Poisson distribution for radioactive decay: sigma = square root n
     B. Error propagation and background counts
III.3 More Complex Decay Processes
     A. Sequential decay. Radioactive equilibrium
          a) Daughter growth and secular equilibrium
          b) Daughter growth and transient equilibrium
     B. Branching decay and partial lifetimes
     C. Decay chains and chart of the nuclides
III.4 Radioisotope Production by Nuclear Bombardment
     A. The total cross section, sigma
     B. Radioisotopes produced from stable targets
III.5 Radiopharmaceuticals in Nuclear Medicine: 99Tc*
[PROBLEM SET II]

IV NUCLEAR SPINS AND PARITIES (~ 2 Lectures)

IV.1 Orbital and Total Angular Momentum (J, I)
     A. Orbital motion and intrinsic spin
     B. Spin-orbit coupling and total "Spin" I (J)
          a) Single electron or nucleon spin, j= l + s
          b) Coupling two angular momenta, L – S and j – j coupling
IV.2 Angular Momentum and parity
     A. The concept of parity ()
     B. Nuclear spins (I), parities and systematics

V NUCLEAR MODELS (~ 6 Lectures)

V.1 The Nuclear Shell Model
     A. Reminder of atomic shell structure
     B. The nuclear shell model: energy levels in spherical nuceli
          a) Spin-orbit force and "Magic Numbers"
          b) Nuclear spin systematics and nuclear moments
V.2 The Nuclear Collective Model
     A. Evidence from quadrupole moments. Nuclear shapes.
     B. Energy levels of deformed nuclei – rotational band spectra
          a) Review of the rigid rotor (C312). The diatomic molecule
          b) Even-even nuclei, ground state rotational bands
          c) Odd-A nuclei and their rotational bands
V.3 The Liquid Drop Model and Spontaneous Nuclear Fission
     A. Comparison with nuclear alpha-decay. Barrier penetrability.
     B. The nuclear BE equation and the ssion barrier, BF
[MIDTERM]

VI DECAY SCHEMES AND SPECTROSCOPY (~ 6 Lectures)

VI.1 Elementary Concepts of a Transition Probability
     A. The meaning of lambda. Transitions vs. static moments
     B. Example (alpha, beta, gamma) decay schemes
VI.2 Nuclear Gamma Decay
     A. gamma-decay selection rules. Electric (EL) and Magnetic (ML) radiation
     B. gamma-decay lifetimes: Energy and Multipolarity
          a) Transition rates. Weisskopf (EL) single-particle estimates
          b) Isomeric (metastable) states
     C. High energy gamma-rays and pair production.
VI.3 Chemical applications of gamma-ray spectroscopy
     A. The Mössbauer effect
     B. Neutron activation analysis (C311)
VI.4 Nuclear Beta Decay
     A. Energetics and the basic process. Why a neutrino?
          a) Conservation of angular momentum and energy
          b) Shape of the beta-decay vs. alpha-decay spectrum
     B. Neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. A glance at the Zoo.
     C. Total angular momentum and beta-decay selection rules
          a) Fermi and Gamow-Teller transitions
          b) Spectrum shapes and logft values
VI.5 Muons and Muon Chemistry (at TRIUMF)
[PROBLEM SET III]

VII NUCLEAR REACTIONS AND COSMOLOGY (~ 6 Lectures)

VII.1 Brief Overview of Nuclear Reactions
VII.2 Kinematics and cross sections
      A. Scattering in the LAB frame. The Q-value equation
     B. The CofMass Frame and Threshold energies
     C. Differential and total cross sections
VII.3 Compound Nucleus Reactions
     A. The Coulomb and Centrifugal barriers
     B. Energetics and cross sections
          a) Formation and decay, excitation in the CN, E*CN
          b) Threshold energies and excitation functions
     C. Neutron-induced ssion and nuclear reactors
          a) Neutron capture reactions and E*CN
          b) Neutron moderation. The CANDU vs. US reactors
          c) Nuclear accidents, waste and weapons
VII.4 Aspects of Direct Reactions and "Nuclear Spectroscopy"
VII.5 Nuclear Fusion and Cosmology: Origin of the Elements
     A. The "Big Bang" and Nucleosynthesis. Stellar evolution
     B. Fusion Power on Earth. Contrast with Nuclear Fission
     C. New Superheavy Elements and Islands of Stability

VIII INTERACTION OF RADIATION WITH MATTER (~ 4 Lectures)

VIII.1 General/Introductory Remarks
VIII.2 The Interactions and Stopping Power of Charged Particles
     A. Heavy particles, Bethe-Bloch formula
     B. Range and Range-Energy curves
          a) Energy loss (dE=dx) and Range
          b) Range measurements and straggling
     C. Energy loss and range of electrons (and positrons)
VIII.3 The Interaction of Neutrons and Photons with Matter
     A. Basic processes: neutrals vs. charged particles
     B. Absorption of photons and neutrons
VIII.4 The E ects of Radiation on Matter
     A. Biological e ects of radiation
     B. Radiation dose and exposure
     C. Positrons and positron emission tomography (PET)
     D. Remarks on radiation safety and therapy
[PROBLEM SET IV]