# Simple test to determine type of radioactive decay

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1. Aug 11, 2015

### sonip

Hi Guys
Is there a simple test by which one could determine the type of decay a radioactive specimen is undergoing?
Thanks
sonip

2. Aug 11, 2015

### e.bar.goum

As in $\alpha, \beta$ or $\gamma$ radiation? The easiest thing is to use a Geiger counter, and different stopping media. If the radiation stops in a couple cm of air or a bit of paper, it's $\alpha$, $\beta$ will be stopped by a bit of aluminum, $\gamma$ won't be stopped by paper or air, but will be cut by a sheet of lead.

3. Aug 11, 2015

### sonip

thank you. But is there anyway it could be done without gieger counter or other instruments of this type.
thanks
sonip

4. Aug 11, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

You need something that can detect radiation. A geiger counter is one of the easiest devices - unless you want to wait for days to make film a bit darker.

5. Aug 11, 2015

### e.bar.goum

6. Aug 11, 2015

Staff Emeritus
If you keep feeding us the conditions one line at a time it will take a long time before we have an acceptable answer. Maybe you should explain what you are looking for all at once,

7. Aug 25, 2015

### sonip

Thank you all.
My apologies for being terse in communication.
In fact I was looking for something which could be done without Geiger counter. I was of the opinion that a coutner would be required, but the question was so open-ended, I thought I should explore.
Thank you all once again.
sonip

8. Aug 25, 2015

### Staff: Mentor

There are other radiation detectors, but a Geiger counter is the easiest one.
Cameras can be modified to be sensitive to radiation as well, but with a lower sensitivity.

9. Aug 26, 2015

### Henryk

This was done long, long time ago. Obviously, you need some kind of radiation detector. But the test that was done was using magnetic field. Alpha particle are positively charged and are deflected one way. Beta particles (electrons) are negatively charged and deflected the opposite direction. Gamma rays are not deflected at all.