Applied radiation and isotopes : including data, instrumentation and methods for use in agriculture, industry and medicine

The half-life of ²²⁷Th by direct and indirect measurements.

PMID 26197020


Utilising a chemically purified solution the radioactive half-life of (227)Th has been determined indirectly by observation of the ingrowth of (223)Ra using an ionisation chamber (IC) and for the first time by direct observation of the change in activity with time using a high-purity germanium (HPGe) γ-ray spectrometer. The radioactive decay was observed for ~104 days (~5.6 half-lives) by γ-ray spectrometry and approximately 63 days and 72 days (~3.4 and ~3.9 half-lives) using an ionisation chamber (IC). The resulting half-life values - 18.695 (4) days (IC) and 18.683 (20) days (HPGe) - are consistent and detailed uncertainty budgets are presented for the two measurement techniques. A weighted mean of our results of 18.695 (4) days is inconsistent with the most precise published half-life value of 18.7176 (52) days (Jordan and Blanke, 1967). A critical evaluation of literature data has been performed, indicating a paucity of reliable and independent measurements. Selected independent published values have been used to determine a recommended half-life of 18.697 (7) days. A method has been introduced in the course of this work so that the recommended half-life of (227)Th as determined by ingrowth can be modified if a different (223)Ra half-life has been determined, evaluated and adopted.