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What is a spectrometer?

A spectrometer is a device that analyzes the spectrum of a radiation. Specifically, in physics, «spectrum» refers to the way in which the intensity of a radiation is displayed. 

Therefore, if we combine «spectrum» with «meter», which refers to measurement, we have the spectrometer. 

What is the difference between spectrometer and spectroscopy?

Before detailing the most common types of spectrometers, let’s analyze the difference between concepts such as spectroscopy and spectrometry. 

Spectroscopy studies the interaction between mass and radiated energy. 

Spectrometry is used to make a quantitative measurement of the spectrum. 

The difference between these two concepts is that spectrometry is the measurement using a device, while spectroscopy does not generate results, it is only «observation».


What types of spectrometers are there? 

In general, spectrometers are usually associated with light radiation, although there are other types such as: nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR), mass spectrometer, optical spectrometer, etc. 

Specifically in this article we will focus on: the gamma ray spectrometer.

What is gamma spectrometry?

It consists of obtaining the spectrum of gamma radiation emitted by radionuclides. 

It is a rapid, non-destructive analytical technique that helps in the identification of various radioactive isotopes in a sample thanks to a detector that measures them. 

By comparing the measured energy with the known energy, the identity of the emitter can be determined. 

Gamma spectrometry is one of the most reliable methods of identification and analysis of radioactive samples and is associated with solid scintillation detectors, especially NAI(Tl) with a multichannel analyzer. 

Although, other semiconductor detectors have emerged which have raised the resolving power. 

Types of detectors: 

As we said, there are several types of detectors: 

Scintillation: a process by which a material emits light in response to ionizing radiation. 

Semiconductors (Si, Ge, CdTe, Cd1-xZn xTe, HgI 2, PbI 2 ): The same effect as the scintillation detector is achieved. 

When a semiconductor is struck with gamma rays, the energy imparted by the ray promotes electrons to the conduction band. This change in conductivity can be detected.


What are the applications of gamma spectrometry? 

It allows the identification and quantification of gamma emitting isotopes in a variety of samples. It consists of:

  • Identifying peaks
  • Determining the energies of the peaks
  • Identifying the radionuclides
  • Calculate the total peak areas

What types of spectrometers do we have at Helgeson? 

In Helgeson we have several products, among which are spectrometers. 

Specifically, we have several types of HPGe spectrometers and  HS-SPEC.

It is a multitasking equipment for the detection and measurement of gamma radiation in different kind of samples. 

It includes a 3×3 NaI detector with an embedded MCA.  This guarantees that the detectors perform in their optimum operating conditions, providing and excellent signal output.

Used to measure the gamma radiation of radionuclides from various types of environmental objects.

Thanks to this detector up to 100 radionuclides and their activity can be identified simultaneously. 


A detector for spectrometry applications. With radiation detection in any spatial orientation depending on the cryostat modification. 


Records gamma and X-ray spectra. Applied in environmental, industrial products and radioactive waste processing. 


Very similar to the previous point but used in conditions where the small dimensions and weight of the spectrometer are important.

If you have any doubts about these devices, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to advise you.



If you have any doubts about these devices, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to advise you.

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