Imaging of Gamma-ray Scatter from a Polymethyl-methacrylate Phantom Using a Compton Imaging Spectrometer

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Commercially available gamma-ray imaging spectrometers have been introduced recently and are currently undergoing investigations for various applications in nuclear power plants, environmental management, and medical environments. A Compton imaging gamma-ray spectrometer uses an array of detectors or a single position-sensitive crystal to create planar images of radionuclide distributions. The typical software included with these devices creates images of specific radionuclides using only the counts under their known gamma emission photopeaks. This approach prevents the direct imaging of scattered radiation, which is of interest for many radiation protection applications. In this paper, a technique for imaging radiation scatter or portions of the scatter spectrum is implemented. This involves the creation of a virtual radionuclide in software with peaks placed throughout the backscatter continuum of interest and then imaging that virtual radionuclide in the post-processing software. This technique is used to image the Compton scatter successfully from a polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA) phantom placed in a 137Cs irradiator beam. Measured scatter energies were found to be within 15% of the expected values, sufficient to predict scatter behavior and individually measure separate sources of scatter at different angles.

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