Radiation safety for lab X-ray sources

Spectrum of the X-rays emitted by an X-ray tube with a rhodium target, operated at 60 kV. The smooth, continuous curve is due to bremsstrahlung, and the spikes are characteristic K lines for rhodium atoms. High energy on the left (short wavelength), low energy on the right). Image CC0 licensed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TubeSpectrum.jpg

Over the years, I have followed several radiation safety courses in a variety of countries. Last week, it was NIMS’ turn to train me. As this was given in Japanese (a language I can only half follow), I decided to write my own section on radiation safety instead (for future inclusion in the book). This will draw on personal experience, things I remember from previous trainings and google’d knowledge, but I am fairly sure much of this is correct. Nevertheless, it is only in draft stage, and will still require an expert check, so use this at your own discretion.

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Dr. Helen E. Maynard-Casely chats about planets


What to expect on the surfaces of the more distant planets is a hard question to answer. Fortunately, we have scientists working on this problem.

At our institute, we just had the pleasure of hosting a talk by Dr. Maynard-Casely, whose mission is to add a certain amount of evidence-based level-headedness to the discussions. I will do my best to summarize the contents of her excellent and engaging talk. Read more »


Small-angle Scattering: More than nice curves. [Guest post by M. Gallagher-Jones]

Coherent waves emanating from a raindrop impact on water. CC0-licenced image from: http://pixabay.com/en/rain-drops-raindrops-water-drops-71481/

[ed: Marcus Gallagher-Jones just finished his Ph.D. project on VUV and X-ray lasers for imaging of biological macromolecules]

I was happy to receive an invitation from Brian to write a post for his blog. I can honestly say that I owe a good deal of my knowledge of SAXS from helpful discussions with Brian and from reading LaN. Over the years we’ve shared a country, a workplace, and one more important thing: a scattering geometry. So without further ado I’m delighted to introduce to you the technique which has occupied my time for much of the past four years, Coherent Diffractive Imaging (CDI). Read more »