An apparatus and method are disclosed for a compact and temperature-insensitive nuclear sensor that can be calibrated with a non-hazardous radioactive sample. The nuclear sensor includes a gamma ray sensor that generates tail pulses from radioactive samples. An analog conditioning circuit conditions the tail-pulse signals from the gamma ray sensor, and a tail-pulse simulator circuit generates a plurality of simulated tail-pulse signals. A computer system processes the tail pulses from the gamma ray sensor and the simulated tail pulses from the tail-pulse simulator circuit. The nuclear sensor is calibrated under the control of the computer. The offset is adjusted using the simulated tail pulses. Since the offset is set to zero or near zero, the sensor gain can be adjusted with a non-hazardous radioactive source such as, for example, naturally occurring radiation and potassium chloride.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.