Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Phil Womble (Director), Dr. Keith Andrew, Dr. Alexander Barzilov

Degree Program

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Degree Type

Master of Science Homeland Security Sciences


Non-destructive methods of material interrogation are used to locate hidden explosives and thwart terrorism attempts. In one such method materials are bombarded with neutrons which react with the nuclei of the atoms within causing a de-excitation process emitting a gamma-ray. The spectrum displayed by the collection of these gamma-rays gives valuable information regarding the material’s elemental make-up. It has been hypothesized that gamma-rays from neutron-induced gamma-ray reactions on light elements with atomic numbers less than 20, including most of the gamma-rays of interest in explosives detection, are Doppler-broadened. This thesis focuses on the gamma ray spectra from the 4438 keV gamma ray in the 12C (n, n’γ) reaction wherein Doppler broadening was investigated. A graphite sample was exposed to 14 MeV neutrons and the 12C gamma ray spectra collected using an HPGe detector positioned at four different angles with respect to the neutron beam; near 00, 450, 900 and 1350. No other experimental parameter was changed. The resultant gamma ray spectra indicated Doppler broadening had occurred.


Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics | Defense and Security Studies