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Method and apparatus for detecting dilute concentrations of radioactive xenon in samples of xenon extracted from the atmosphere

United States Patent

9,857,480
January 2, 2018
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A method and apparatus for measuring the concentrations of radioxenon isotopes in a gaseous sample wherein the sample cell is surrounded by N sub-detectors that are sensitive to both electrons and to photons from radioxenon decays. Signal processing electronics are provided that can detect events within the sub-detectors, measure their energies, determine whether they arise from electrons or photons, and detect coincidences between events within the same or different sub-detectors. The energies of detected two or three event coincidences are recorded as points in associated two or three-dimensional histograms. Counts within regions of interest in the histograms are then used to compute estimates of the radioxenon isotope concentrations. The method achieves lower backgrounds and lower minimum detectable concentrations by using smaller detector crystals, eliminating interference between double and triple coincidence decay branches, and segregating double coincidences within the same sub-detector from those occurring between different sub-detectors.
Warburton; William K. (Oakland, CA), Hennig; Wolfgang G. (Fremont, CA)
XIA LLC (Hayward, CA)
15/ 094,793
April 8, 2016
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT The U.S. Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-SC0011301 awarded by the Department of Energy.