Credits: 3


Prerequisite: ENME430 and MATH246.
Restriction: Permission of ENGR-Mechanical Engineering department.
Basics concepts of nuclear radiation and radiation detectors including types of radiation, radioactive decay, and interactions of radiation with matter.

Semesters Offered

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

Learning Objectives

The major objective of ENME 432 is to teach students the measurements required to characterize radiation emitted from active nuclear materials. Emphasis is placed on laboratory measurements using modern radiation detectors and processing electronics and analysis software. Understanding the principles of nuclear radiation and detector technology underlying measurements and the critical thinking skills necessary to effectively assess experimental results is emphasized. Students satisfactorily completing the class will:
  • Become familiar with basic nuclear processes and the interaction of radiation with matter
  • Understand and be able to apply the design of experiments for radiation detection and measurement
  • Understand the principles of radiation detector operation
  • Be able to assess the uncertainty of experimental results and the reliability of radiation measurements


Topics Covered

Radiation Safety

  • Basic Instrumentation
  • Nuclear Radiation, Counting Statistics
  • Interaction of Radiation with Matter
  • Gas Ionization Detectors
  • Gamma Ray Spectroscopy
  • Radiation Sensors, Basic Principles
  • Detector Efficiency and Resolution
  • Shielding
  • Dosimetry
  • Nuclear Decay and Half-Life
  • Neutron Activation
  • Nuclear Reactor Operation, Approach to Critical


  • Radiation Safety
  • Introduction to GM Detectors, Counting Statistics
  • Gamma Spectroscopy – NaI/SCA/MCA
  • High Resolution Gamma Spectroscopy – HPGe/MCA
  • Alpha Spectroscopy
  • Radiation Shielding
  • Dosimetry
  • Half-Life Measurements
  • Neutron Activation
  • Maryland University Training Reactor – Approach to Critical


Learning Outcomes

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • an ability to communicate effectively
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues

Additional Course Information


Coplan, Michael & Koeth, Timothy


Radiation Detection and Measurement, 4th Edition, Glenn F. Knoll, Wylie, 1999.

Class/Laboratory Schedule 

  • One 50 minute lecture and one 4 hour lab each week