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Attenuation Length

  1. Aug 2, 2012 #1
    Hello, I am reading this article in wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attenuation_length about attenuation lengths and there is something I'm hoping someone here can explain to me.

    Lets say I have one small solid sphere and one big hollow sphere. And lets say I put the small sphere within the hollow part of the big one.
    Now, somehow the small sphere is radioactive and it emits gamma rays. The big sphere is made of a different material (not radioactive). Also, lets say I have solved the equation in the wiki article for the length L = -λln(rand(0,1)). Then, I solve for L using λ for the radioactive material. But what happens if this L happens to be big enough to exit the first material and it goes into the second one. Would I have to calculate L again using λ for the non-radioactive material?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    You want to calculate a random length L (for a single particle) for the flight distance to the point of absorption? In this case, if both materials are equal, just add the lengths in the materials. Alternatively, if L is longer than the flight distance in the inner object, do the same calculation again for the outer object, with a new L' for the length in this material only.
  4. Aug 2, 2012 #3

    Thank you.
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