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Cobalt 60-Source - Gamma irradiation

For irradiation with gamma rays, for example for material testing or for applications in the medical or food industry, the HZB offers a cobalt-60 source. Cobalt-60 is a radioactive isotope (60Co). It arises when irradiating naturally occurring cobalt-59 with neutrons. The cobalt-60 thus produced decomposes into nickel-60, at the same time emitting beta and gamma rays. In our construction, a stainless steel jacket absorbs the beta radiation. The gamma rays with an energy of 1.17 MeV and 1.33 MeV with a maximum dose rate of 100 Gy/h are used for irradiation. Nuclear reaction in the samples do not occur.

The cobalt source is designed so that both small objects and larger objects can be irradiated. This results in a broad field for possible applications:

  • Sterilization of objects (eg in the food industry)
  • Protection of works of art and museum pieces against mold
  • Testing electronic components to determine their lifetime in radiation fields such as space

Due to its intensity and construction, the radiation source is unique in Germany.

Cobalt source samples - enlarged view

Cobalt source. Samples from the Laser Zentrum Hannover in the irradiation chamber.