A didactic proposal about Rutherford backscattering spectrometry with theoretic, experimental, simulation and application activities
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Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry is a nuclear analysis technique widely used for material science investigation. Despite the strict technical requirements to perform the data acquisition, the interpretation of a spectrum is at the reach of general physics students. The main phenomena occurring during a collision between helium ions - with energy of few MeV - and matter are: elastic nuclear collision, elastic scattering, and, in case of non-surface collision, ion stopping. The models to interpret these phenomena are of classical physics: material point elastic collision, unscreened Coulomb scattering, and inelastic energy loss of ions with electrons, respectively. We present the educational proposal for RBS, in the framework of the model of educational reconstruction, following a rationale that links basic physics concepts with quantities for spectra analysis. This contribution offers the opportunity to design didactic specific interventions suitable for undergraduate and secondary school students.