Error Analysis: Calculating Error from Radiation Counts

In summary, the conversation discusses calculating errors from a set of radiation counts. The error in a single count is the square root of the number of counts, but when taking multiple counts to find an average, the error is estimated using the square root of the average count. This can be compared to the theoretical error measure to determine the likelihood of the experiment's results.
  • #1
hartraft
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Not sure if this is the best place for this post, if it isn't any recommendations would be appreciated.

My qustion concerns calculating the error from a set of radiation counts. I understand that the error in a single radiation count is [tex]\sqrt{N}[/tex] where N is the number of counts. My question is what happens if i have taken multiple counts with the intention of using an average.

For example if i have three counts of 225, 197 and 211 with errors of 15, 14, and 14 respectively, the average count is 211, what is the error? Do i use the standard method of combining errors even this these are all measurements of the same variable?

Any help would be appreciated
 
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  • #2
Average of counts is the unbiased estimator for N in this case. So the estimator of square root of N is the square root of average counts. In other words, if you want to estimate the error you use square root of average counts, as population of the counts getting large we are able to reach the theoretical error measure. By comparing the theoretical error with measures of error got from experienced you can know how likely the experiment result to happen.
 

1. What is error analysis in the context of calculating error from radiation counts?

Error analysis in this context refers to the process of evaluating the accuracy and precision of measurements of radiation counts. It involves identifying and quantifying sources of error and determining the overall uncertainty in the calculated result.

2. How do you calculate error from radiation counts?

The error from radiation counts can be calculated by taking the square root of the sum of the squared uncertainties in the individual measurements. This is known as the root mean square (RMS) error. Alternatively, the percent error can be calculated by dividing the absolute value of the difference between the measured value and the accepted value by the accepted value and multiplying by 100.

3. What are the sources of error in calculating radiation counts?

There are several potential sources of error in calculating radiation counts, including instrumental errors, environmental factors such as background radiation, and human error in taking and recording measurements. Other sources of error may also include statistical fluctuations in the data and systematic errors in the experimental design.

4. How can error analysis improve the accuracy of radiation count measurements?

Error analysis allows for the identification and quantification of sources of error in radiation count measurements. By understanding and accounting for these sources of error, the accuracy of the measurements can be improved. Additionally, error analysis can help to determine the overall uncertainty in the calculated result, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the measured value.

5. How does the type of radiation affect the error in radiation count measurements?

The type of radiation can affect the error in radiation count measurements due to differences in the properties of the radiation, such as energy, penetration depth, and detection efficiency. For example, gamma radiation may have a higher detection efficiency compared to alpha radiation, resulting in potentially lower error in counts for gamma radiation measurements.

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