Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Larry W. Burggraf, PhD.


Mössbauer spectroscopy is a very sensitive measurement technique (10-8 eV) which prompted motivation for the experiment described in this thesis. Namely, can a sensitive detection system be developed to detect nuclear recoils on the order of 10 to 100 of eVs? The hypothesis that this thesis tests is: Nuclear induced phonon bursts caused by Rutherford scattered alphas, decayed from 241Am, in a type-310 stainless steel material can couple with 7.3 keV conversion electron Mössbauer events at the other end of the material which will have a statistically significant effect on a Mössbauer spectrum. The phonon bursts produced by the alpha collisions are expected to be very low energy at the other end of length of material. Since Mössbauer spectroscopy is sensitive and can detect the very low energy phonons, the spectrum is expected to change in at least one of the five areas after coupling occurs: broadening in the spectrum peaks, increased/decreased background counting rate, Mossbauer peak asymmetry, increased/decreased counting rate under the peak, and/or a peak centroid shift. This research aims to determine the significance of changes between spectra with phonon bursts and with no phonon bursts through hypothesis testing, where the null hypothesis is where phonons do not affect Mössbauer spectra in one of the five areas mentioned previously. After the spectra and results were analyze using an f-test and t-test comparisons, this experiment failed to reject the null result. Leading to the conclusion that additional research must be conducted.

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