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EP-408 (Experimental Techniques in Nuclear and Particle Physics)

Tutorial I
Basic properties of nuclei, nuclear decays, relativistic kinematics

6 ( Z  1)e2
1. Show that the average Coulomb energy of a proton in a nucleus of radius R and atomic number Z is U%c 
5 4 0 R
*2. Nuclear states are known to have definite parity. Find if the following can be a possible nuclear wavefunction:
𝛹 𝑥 = 𝑠𝑖 𝑥 + 𝑥 𝑥 + 𝑐 𝑠 𝑥 , where A, B and C are positive constants. [Ans: Yes]
3. To penetrate the Coulomb barrier of a light nucleus, a proton must have a minimum energy of the order of few
(i) MeV, (ii) keV, (iii) GeV. [Ans: (i)]
4. What is the approximate density of nuclear matter in ton/cm3?
(i) 0.004, (ii) 400, (iii) 109. [Ans: (iii)]
*5. Calculate the electrostatic energy of a charge Q distributed uniformly throughout a sphere of radius R.
(i) Since Si and Al are “mirror nuclei”, their ground states are identical except for charge. If their mass
difference is approximately 6 MeV, estimate their radii. Assuming the radius is given by r0A1/3, find r0.
(ii) If the decay between these nuclei occurs via +, find the maximum energy of the positron.
6. The nucleus 30 Zn can decay either by   or by K-capture. The maximum kinetic energy for the positron is 0.66

(i) Calculate the maximum neutrino energy in the + process, assuming the neutrino mass to be zero.
(ii)Calculate the neutrino energy emitted in K-capture, neglect nuclear recoil and electron binding energy corrections.
[Ans: (i) 0.66 MeV, (ii) 1.682]
*7. The atomic masses of a pair of nuclei are given below in amu. Find the allowed decays, -, + and EC.
(i) Li (7.0182), Be (7.0192).
(ii) C (13.0076), 𝑁 (13.0100).
(iii) 99F (19.0045), 9Ne (19.0080).
(iv) P (33.9983), S (33.9978).
(v) S (34.9791), Cl (34.9789).
*8. Carbon dating: The radioactive isotope 14C maintains a small but fixed proportion in the carbon of the atmosphere as
it is continually produced by bombardment of cosmic rays. A living entity, by exchanging carbon with the
atmosphere, also maintains the same isotopic proportion of 14C. After it dies, the exchange ceases and the isotopic
proportion attenuates, thus providing a means of dating the time of death.Estimate the age of the remains of a tree
whose radioactivity (decays/sec.) is 1/3 of that of a comparable but relatively young tree.
A B C
9. Consider the radioactive decay chain A  B  C  D (stable nucleus), A
with NB = NC = ND = 0 and finite value of NA at time t = 0.  A
(i) Evaluate the total activity within the radioactive decay chain,
(ii) Under the conditions λA = 3λ, λB = 2λ, λC = λ., show that the total C
activity is independent from the initial conditions concerning the number C
of atoms of type A, B, C, and D. D
*10. In the decay scheme shown in the adjacent figure, find the number of nuclei
in the states ‘B’ and ‘C’ at a particular time t. Assume constant population rate
‘Q’ for the state A with no nuclei existing at t = 0.
11. Given the ratio between the number of daughter and parent nuclei in the decay chain P→D (with decay constant λ) at
the time t1, knowing that at the starting time t0 all elements were of type P only.
(i) Calculate the time interval Δt = t1 – t0 as a function of this ratio.
(ii)Show that this method, if λ is known, presents a appropriate dating method.
(iii) Study the application in which we study the decay of 90Th into the stable 208
82 Pb nuclei.
In a piece of rock one observes the presence of 3.65 g 90Th and 0.75 g of 208
82 Pb . What is the age of the rock
starting from the above Th/Pb ratio? Given are λ( Th ) = 1.41 1010 year, Avogadro no. = 6.022045  1023 /mol.

12. Calculate the kinetic energy (in MeV) of α-particle emitted in the decay process 92U  90Th   .
232 228
[Hint: Calculate the nuclear recoil and utilize the table of mass excess to find the masses].
*13.Explain the fact that 235U is utilized in making the atomic bombs
although it is only 0.7 % abundant as compared to 238U which is 93.7
% abundant. [Hint: Use the table of mass excess and show that slow
and energetic neutrons are required for fissioning 235U and 238U,
14. Label the multipolarities of all the gamma-transitions in the adjacent
15. Show that the relativistic expression for the kinetic energy of a
particle reduces to the non-relativistic expressions if the velocity of
the particle is small compared to the velocity of light.
16. Consider a very short-lived particle of mass M decaying into two
long-lived particles 1 and 2. Assume you can measure accurately the
energies and momenta of the two long-lived particles. How will you
calculate the mass of the short-lived particle from the known
energies and momenta of the two long-lived objects?
17. A particle of rest mass m0 has a energy 4m0c2. Find the momentum in the units of m0c. What is the energy of the
particle in a frame in which its momentum is 2m0c? [Ans: 15m0c, 5m0c2]
*18. A particle, labeled as A, decays into two particles B and C. The rest mass energy of A, B and C are 140 MeV, 100
MeV and zero, respectively. In the rest frame of A, calculate the momenta of the decay products. Also calculate the
velocity of B in the rest frame of A and the velocity of C in the rest frame of B.
*19. The high energy photon collides with a proton at rest. A neutral pi-meson (0) is produced according to the reaction
𝛾 + → + 𝜋 . What is the minimum energy, the photon must have for this reaction to occur? The rest mass
energy of the proton and 0 are 938 MeV and 135 MeV, respectively.
20. Show that in a - or a + decay only a very small fraction of the energy derived from the mass difference goes to the
kinetic energy of the final-state nucleon.
[Hint: The 3-body problem can be reduced to a 2-body problem by considering the electron-neutrino system as one
object with a mass of a few MeV].
Laplace transform:

F  s    f  t  e st dt
Useful Laplace transforms:
f t  F s
A (const.)
e at
df (t )
sF (s)  f (0)