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Radiation - Generating Equipment


Ionizing radiation is produced by many different devices used for research purposes, including

  • X-ray irradiator
  • X-ray diffractometer
  • Electron microscope
  • Radioisotope (Co-60 or Cs-137) irradiator
  • Neutron Generator
  • Americium-241-Berylium (Am/Be) neutron source

The Radiation Safety Office oversees the purchase and the safe use of these devices.  The RSO should be contacted prior to any purchase of these devices.

Morningside, Nevis Laboratories, Lamont Doherty LDEO), Manhattanville 212-854-8749
Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital,New York State Psychiatric Institute 212-305-0303

 X-ray irradiator
These devices are designed to produce high levels of penetrating radiation for research requiring partial or whole-body irradiation of small animals (i.e. mice and rats), cell cultures, or other materials.  Typically these devices are enclosed in a cabinet that provides a power supply, control circuitry, and shielding.  External hook ups for cooling and building power (220 V) may be necessary. 

The owner/operator of this device is responsible for installing the device and training operators.

X-ray diffractometer
The atomic structure of matter can be studied by passing x-rays through crystals in a process known as x-ray crystallography.  These devices utilize a narrow beam of x rays to interrogate the sample.  The device is usually enclosed in appropriate shielding.

The owner/operator of this device is responsible for installing the device and training operators.

Electron microscope
Electron microscopes use a focused beam of electrons to illuminate a specimen and produce a magnified image.  Impact of the electrons on the interior walls of the microscope or the specimen platform will produce x rays.  The device is usually enclosed in the appropriate shielding.
The owner/operator of this device is responsible for installing the device and training operators.

Radioisotope (Co-60 or Cs-137) irradiator
These devices are designed to produce high levels of penetrating radiation for research requiring whole-body irradiation of small animals (i.e. mice and rats), cell cultures, blood, or other materials.  These devices are enclosed in a cabinet that provides a power supply, control circuitry, and shielding. 

NOTE:  Access to these devices requires special arrangements.  Individuals may be required to undergo fingerprinting and background investigations. 

Morningside, Nevis Laboratories, Lamont Doherty LDEO), Manhattanville 212-854-8749
Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital,New York State Psychiatric Institute 212-305-0303

Neutron Generator
Energetic neutrons can be produced by fusing hydrogen atoms together.  These devices contains\ a compact linear accelerator that produces neutrons by accelerating deuterium (D) or tritium (T) atoms into metal hydride targets containing D or T.  D-D fusion results in production of neutrons with an average energy of 2.5 MeV; D-T fusion produces neutrons with an average energy of 14 MeV.  These devices are used for neutron radiography or neutron activation analysis.

NOTE: Radiations Safety must be consulted prior to any purchase of this equipment.  A  shielding evaluation must be performed prior to installation and startup.

The owner/operator of this device is responsible for installing the device and training operators.

Americium-241-Berylium (Am/Be) neutron source
Neutrons are generated when alpha particles impact low atomic number metals such as beryllium.  Americium-241 has a half-life of 425 years and emits alpha particles during its decay.  When mixed with beryllium, it produces energetic neutrons that can be used for a variety of research purposes, including neutron radiography or neutron activation analysis.

NOTE: Radiations Safety must be consulted prior to any purchase of this equipment.  A shielding evaluation must be performed prior to installation and startup.

The owner/operator of this device is responsible for installing the device and training operators.