Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy

Committee Chair

Chris Winstead

Committee Chair Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Mead

Committee Member 2 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 3

Michael Vera

Committee Member 3 Department

Physics and Astronomy


This research is a part of an effort to characterize the chemical products generated by radiation interacting with atmosphere. One method of detecting ionizing radiation is to monitor the radiation induced products in the atmosphere around the source. This project explored the potential for using Cavity Ringdown Spectroscopy to evaluate the presence of chemical products generated by the air-radiation interaction near an alpha radiation source. In particular, measurements of ozone concentration within a controlled atmosphere chamber as affected by radiation exposure were obtained.

The first portion of this thesis provides brief reviews of ionizing radiation and ozone formation as well as an explanation of Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy and Cavity Ringdown Spectroscopy. This is followed by a description of the optical and vacuum systems that were available and the modifications required to integrate the optical system into the vacuum chamber to achieve the ability to optically monitor the ozone levels in a controlled atmosphere. Both the ringdown data collection and the vacuum system control processes were automated using software developed throughout this project. A discussion of these programs is also included in this thesis. Finally, results are presented and discussed that verify the system is capable detecting a correlation between the presence of an absorbing species and exposure to ionizing radiation.

Included in

Physics Commons