Visual gamma: eriss gamma analysis technical manual

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2010

Internal Report 539
Esparon A & Pfitzner J
Supervising Scientist Division

About the report

The Environmental Radioactivity Group (EnRad) of the Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) employ High Purity Germanium (HPGe) gamma detectors to analyse samples for a range of naturally occurring radionuclides and several nuclear bomb fallout radionuclides. The samples are sourced from internal projects and external clients and includes the following:

  • Sediments and soils
  • Plant and animal material
  • Filters from water and dust collection.

Since 1985 computer programs developed in-house have been used for the analysis of the spectrum obtained from the eriss HPGe detectors. The original programs were written in Fortran. During that time there has been continual improvement of these programs and this latest version, Visual Gamma, is the culmination of input from several EnRad staff over those years.

Visual Gamma is written by Andrew Esparon of eriss in and incorporates an SQL database and the Ortec Connections software. The Ortec Connections software facilitates communication between the instrumentation and the Visual Gamma program. An advantage of the in-house programming is that the source code is available and documented, providing the opportunity for future improvements to the program.

The significant new features of Visual Gamma are that it provides a graphical interface, which allows interactive fine tuning of the analysis process by the operator, and a database system for recording sample metadata that is linked to analytical results, therefore allowing efficient data retrieval and manipulation. This document is the technical manual for the Visual Gamma computer program.