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Fundamental uncertainty equations for nuclear dating applied to the 140Ba-140La and 227Th-223Ra chronometers.

Pomme, S*; Collins, S M; Harms, A; Jerome, S M (2016) Fundamental uncertainty equations for nuclear dating applied to the 140Ba-140La and 227Th-223Ra chronometers. J. Environ. Radioact., 162-16. pp. 358-370.

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Abstract

Basic equations for age dating through activity ratio measurements are presented and applied to nuclear chronometers based on parent-daughter decay. Uncertainty propagation formulae are derived which relate the relative uncertainty on the half-lives and measured activity ratios with the relative uncertainty on the calculated time of a nuclear event. Particular attention is paid to the case of relatively short-lived radionuclides for which the change in decay rate during the measurement is non-negligible. Mathematical solutions are presented to correct the perceived activity ratio and adapt the uncertainty propagation formulae to complete the uncertainty budget. The formulae have been applied to 140Ba-140La chronometry, which is particularly useful for dating a nuclear explosion through measurement of the produced activity ratio of 140La and 140Ba in a finite time interval. They were also applied to the 227Th-223Ra parent-daughter pair produced for therapeutic use. The impact of inaccuracies in the nuclear decay data on the performance of these nuclear chronometers is shown and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: nuclear chronometry, uncertainty, CTBT, non-proliferation, geochronology, nuclear medicine, dosimetry
Subjects: Ionising Radiation
Ionising Radiation > Radioactivity
Identification number/DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.06.013
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:13
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/7397

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