Selected Publications

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By Scott D. Bergeson, Michael J. Ware, and Jeremy Hawk

We report an all-solid-state gamma-ray scintillation detector comprised of a NaI(Tl) crystal and a scientific-grade CMOS camera. After calibration, this detector exhibits excellent linearity over more than three decades of activity levels ranging from 10 mCi to 400 nCi. Because the detector is not counting pulses, dead-time correction is not required. Compared to systems that use a photomultiplier tube, this detector has similar sensitivity and noise characteristics on short time scales. On longer time scales, we measure drifts of a few percent over several days, which can be accommodated through regular calibration. Using this detector, we observe that when high activity sources are brought into close proximity to the NaI crystal, several minutes are required for the measured signal to achieve a steady state.

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By Q. McKnight, S. D. Bergeson, J. Peatross, and M. J. Ware
Abstract: We report nearly continuous beta-decay-rate measurements of Na-22, Cl-36, Co-60, Sr-90, and Cs-137 over a period of 2.7 years using four Geiger-Müller tubes. We carefully control the ambient pressure and temperature for the detectors, sources, and electronics in order to minimize environmentally-dependent systematic drifts in the measurement chains. We show that the amplitudes of an annual oscillation in the decay rates are consistent with zero to within 0.004%.
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Abstract: We assess several widely used vector models of a Gaussian laser beam in the context of more accurate vector diffraction integration. For the analysis, we present a streamlined derivation of the vector fields of a uniformly polarized beam reflected from an ideal parabolic mirror, both inside and outside of the resulting focus. This exact solution to Maxwell’s equations, first developed in 1920 by V. S. Ignatovsky, is highly relevant to high-intensity laser experiments since the boundary conditions at a focusing optic dictate the form of the focus in a manner analogous to a physical experiment. In contrast, many models simply assume a field profile near the focus and develop the surrounding vector fields consistent with Maxwell’s equations. In comparing the Ignatovsky result with popular closed-form analytic vector models of a Gaussian beam, we find that the relatively simple model developed by Erikson and Singh in 1994 provides good agreement in the paraxial limit. Models involving a Lax expansion introduce a divergences outside of the focus while providing little if any improvement in the focal region. Extremely tight focusing produces a somewhat complicated structure in the focus, and requires the Ignatovsky model for accurate representation.