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Medical Health Physics Teaching Lab


TECH 246

The Medical and Nuclear Physics Teaching Lab builds upon the successful implementation of a Health Physics program at TSU begun in 2008. Health Physics concerns the understanding of nuclear processes as it affects safe working environments for living organisms (i.e. human beings in particular), within medical facilities, nuclear power plants, government research facilities, food processing centers, etc. Some of the equipment resources in this lab include:

  • Alpha Spectrometers
  • High Energy Resolution High Purity Germanium Detector
  • Geiger Mueller Counters
  • Lanthanum Bromide Scintillation Detector/Multichannel Analyzer
  • Wide Energy Neutron Detector 
  • Survey Meters (Ion Chamber, Geiger Mueller, Neutron Detector)
  • Well Detector
  • Proportional Counter
  • Nuclear Instrumentation Bins and Modules
  • Gamma Spectroscopy System

Geiger-Mueller counter system

Students enrolled in the traditional health physics program at TSU take two semesters of laboratory classes, which focus on unique hands- on experiments involving various radiation detection apparatuses, analyses, and techniques. In the first laboratory component, students learn how to use a Geiger-Mueller system to measure radiation emitted for various
radionuclide species. In the second installment of the laboratory sequence, students learn how to use a sodium iodide detector system to measure spectroscopic signatures from gamma-emitting radioisotopes. The final component in this sequence is a nuclear electronics laboratory, in which students learn fundamental signal pulse analysis using standard instrumentation commonly employed in nuclear and radiation physics.

Various survey meters and Geiger-Mueller counter system

Given that Houston hosts the world’s largest Medical Consortium, The Texas Medical Center (TMC), it is natural to expand upon proven Health Physics capabilities that overlap Medical Physics. This concerns the understanding of nuclear physics as applied to medical diagnosis and treatment for illnesses such as cancer. To this extent, the Medical/Health – Nuclear Physics Teaching Laboratory will also expand into this area. TSU- Physics has produced exceptional students working or interning as radiation safety specialists. A list of these facilities included the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT Health Science Center at Houston, Texas Commision on Environmental Quality (Radiation Division), UT Southwestern Medical Center.  Additionally, TSU-physics graduates have gone on to attend either graduate school or medical school at the following institutions: Texas A&M University at College Station, University of Texas at Austin, School of Medicine-Texas Tech Health Sciences, Howard University, Morgan State University, Tulane University.

Funding for the radiation health physics laboratories have been provided by grants from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.