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Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: GIUSEPPE GABRIELE RAPISARDA

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course is aimed at providing the student with the basic knowledge on radioactivity and the implications in the environmental field: knowledge of the decay mechanisms; knowledge of the properties of ionizing radiation; knowledge of the effects in the matter crossed by ionizing radiation; knowledge of ionizing radiation sources in the environment; knowledge of environmental radioactivity monitoring systems; knowledge of the basic concepts of radio-protection.

Knowledge and understanding.

Critical understanding of the most advanced developments in the field of environmental radioactivity monitoring both in theoretical and laboratory aspects and their interconnections, also in interdisciplinary fields.

Remarkable expertise with the scientific method, understanding of the nature and procedures of research in the field, mastery of the experimental aspect with particular reference to the choice of detectors for the different types of radiation.

Applying knowledge and understanding

Ability to identify the essential elements in a phenomenon, in terms of orders of magnitude and approximation level, and being able to perform the required approximations

Ability to use analogy as a tool to apply known solutions to new problems (problem solving).

Ability to plan and apply experimental and theoretical procedures to solve problems in academic or applied research, or to improve existing results.


Making judgements

Awareness of security problems in laboratory activities.

Ability to convey own interpretations of physical phenomena, when discussing within a research team.


Communication skills.

Ability to discuss about advanced physical concepts, both in Italian and in English.

Ability to present one's own research activity or a review topic both to an expert and to a non-expert audience.


Learning skills.

Ability to acquire adequate tools for the continuous update of one's knowledge.

Ability to exploit databases and bibliographical and scientific resources to extract information and suggestions to better frame and develop one's study and research activity.

Course Structure

Lectures with application examples. Seminars of external experts.


Language: English


Should the circumstances require online or blended teaching, appropriate modifications to what is hereby stated may be introduced, in order to achieve the main objectives of the course.

Required Prerequisites

Basic knowledge on the properties of the nucleus. Knowledge of radiation-matter interaction. Basic knowledge on detectors.

Attendance of Lessons

Mandatory, as stated in the Didactic Regulation

Detailed Course Content

decays, neutron production, fission products. Recalls of the mechanisms of radiation-matter interaction. Direct ionizing radiation and indirectly ionizing radiation. Law of radioactive decay: probability of decay and average life, half-life, radioactive equilibrium. Natural decay chains. Natural sources and anthropogenic sources of radiation ionizing. The Radon: implications and applications. Introduction to particle detectors: detection of charged particles, gamma radiation detection, neutron detection, detection efficiency. Monitoring of radioactivity: activity of a source, identification of radionuclide emitters, quantification of the concentration of radionuclides in environmental matrices, experimental monitoring techniques. Dosimetry and radiation protection elements: radiometric quantities and dosimetric quantities, effects of the interaction of ionizing radiations in the biological matter, absorption and shielding, outline of the regulation of dose limits. Notes on the techniques of control and reclamation of environmental matrices contaminated by radionuclides. Radioactive waste: production, classification, management, destination, examples. Radwaste characterization and monitoring, detectors and techniques. The DMNR project, the MICADO project. Low-cost sensors for gamma radiation monitoring (SciFi). Low-cost sensors for neutron radiation monitoring (SiLiF). SiLiF sensors test results in the lab and on the field. Laboratory exercise with SiLiF sensors.

Textbook Information

Radiation Detection and Measurement - Glenn F. Knoll

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1nature and properties of radiation: 12 hoursslide; Radiation Detection and Measurement - Glenn F.Knoll
2radioactive decay law: 2 hoursslide; Radiation Detection and Measurement - Glenn F.Knoll
3radiation-matter interactions: 6 hoursRadiation Detection and Measurement - Glenn F. Knoll
4detection systems: 8 hoursRadiation Detection and Measurement - Glenn F. Knoll
5applications: environment and research: 4 hoursslide
6Gas Radon problem: 10 hoursslide

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The exam will be held with an oral interview on the contents of the course.


Criteria for evaluation: 1) relevance of the answers to the questions posed; 2) level of analysis of the contents presented; 3) ability to link with other topics covered by the program.


The exam can also be carried out online, should the conditions require it.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

The questions below are not an exhaustive list but represent possible examples.


1) radiation properties;

2) sources of radiation;

3) interaction with matter;

4) radiation detection;

5) detection efficiency;

6) radioactive decay law;

7) activity;

8) dose;

9) applications.