Ratio of germanium detector peak efficiencies at photon energies of 4.4 and 11.7 MeV: Experiment versus simulation

Spencer Carson, Christian Iliadis, John Cesaratto, Art Champagne, Lori Downen, Marija Ivanovic, John Kelley, Richard Longland, Joseph R. Newton, Gencho Rusev, Anton P. Tonchev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Full-energy peak efficiencies of germanium detectors are frequently investigated at γ-ray energies below 4 MeV using calibrated radioactive sources, while very accurate peak efficiencies for higher photon energies are essentially non-existent. Peak efficiencies in the energy range of E γ = 4212 MeV are crucial for a number of applications, including nuclear astrophysics measurements of fusion reactions and resonance fluorescence experiments. We report on a novel method, using the 163 keV resonance in the 11 B(p, γ)12C reaction, of measuring accurately the ratio of full-energy peak efficiencies at 4.44 and 11.66 MeV. We derive this ratio for three different detector-target distances (3, 12 and 26cm) directly from measured peak intensities and demonstrate that corrections are small (γ-ray branching ratios, angular correlations, coincidence summing). Our measured full-energy peak efficiency ratios have a precision of 1.4-1.6%. Another important goal of our study was to determine to what precision full-energy peak efficiencies at high γ-ray energies can be predicted using the simulation codes Geant3 and Geant4. We imaged our detector using computed tomography and radiographs in order to extract reliable detector crystal dimensions. Based on these results, extensive computer simulations are performed. We find that the simulation results agree with the measured peak efficiency ratios within an uncertainty of 1.6% for Geant4 and 2.6% for Geant3. Our results are useful for assigning uncertainties when peak efficiencies are extrapolated from low energy data to high energies based on simulations only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Full-energy peak efficiencies
  • Gamma-ray spectrometry
  • HPGe detector
  • High γ - Ray energy
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Radiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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