EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Measuring Background Radiation with a Novel Ionisation Detector Aboard A North Atlantic Voyage

Justin Tabbett1, Karen Aplin1, and Susana Barbosa2
Justin Tabbett et al.
  • 1University of Bristol, Aerospace Engineering, Bristol, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science, Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics/ Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Porto, Portugal

Radon and its progeny are well-documented sources of natural radioactivity which can be used as benchmarks for testing a novel ionisation detector. The miniaturised ionisation detector was deployed aboard the NRP Sagres on a SAIL mission in July 2021 which travelled between the Açores and Lisbon in the North Atlantic Ocean. On its voyage, the detector profiled natural background radiation and in-directly detected cosmic ray muons, providing both spectroscopic energy discrimination and count rate data. The detector was simultaneously run with a NaI(Tl) gamma ray counter and other meteorological instruments.

The small form factor and low-power detector, composed of a 1x1x0.8 cm3 CsI(Tl) microscintillator coupled to a PiN photodiode, was able to identify gamma peaks from Bi-214 and K-40, having been calibrated using laboratory gamma sources up to 1.3 MeV. This research aims to investigate the performance of the ionisation detector and behaviour of discrete gamma energies over the duration of the voyage. Additionally, we will show a comparison of the CsI(Tl) based ionisation detector against the gamma ray counter which features a larger NaI(Tl) scintillator.

How to cite: Tabbett, J., Aplin, K., and Barbosa, S.: Measuring Background Radiation with a Novel Ionisation Detector Aboard A North Atlantic Voyage, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4833,, 2022.


Display file