How to Measure Radiation?

How to Measure Radiation?

How to measure radiation?

How to measure radiation? Detecting radiation is essential but impossible with human senses. Therefore, a radiation detection device is required. Various instruments are available that detect and measure the presence of radiation.  dosimeter badges and rings can be found in hospitals, laboratories, manufacturing plants, medical offices, government facilities, etc. Continue to read and learn more about how radiation measurements happen. 

Laboratory Instruments

Liquid Scintillation Counters are standard laboratory instruments that quantify the radioactivity of low energy radioscopes. These counters use specific cocktails of a sample and liquid scintillator fluid to absorb the energy emitted from isotopes and transmit it to pulses of light. Low background counts are achieved with these devices through the use of shielding, cooling of photomultiplier tubes, energy discrimination, and the coincidence counting approach. Units have the capability to acquire, store and reduce the capacity of data automatically.

Proportional Counters are also known as proportional detectors, which detect gaseous ionizing radiation. The detector is so named because of its ability to measure the energy of incident radiation by producing a proportional output pulse to the radiation energy absorbed by the detector. Proportional counters may or may not be equipped with a window and are sensitive enough to distinguish between alpha and beta radiation and achieve low minimum detectable activities.

Multichannel Analyzer System is a powerful laboratory radiation detection instrument that counts solid or liquid matrix samples and other extracted radioactive samples. These units, either constructed with a sodium iodide crystal and photomultiplier tube, a solid-state germanium detector, or a silicon-type detector, are mostly used to detect gamma radiation. The exception is silicon-type detectors that can also detect alpha radiation. Units have the capability to acquire, store and reduce the capacity of data automatically, similar to liquid scintillation counters. .

Handheld Instruments

Geiger Counters are the most common handheld radiation detection devices. They are composed of a Geiger-Mueller (GM) tube or probe filled with gas, which produces an electrical pulse if radiation reacts with the gas in the tube or the wall when a high voltage is applied. That electrical pulse can be read on the instrument meter through an audible click or display. If the instrument has a speaker, the pulses also give an audible click. GM tubes can also be employed for exposure measurements, but are most commonly utilized with handheld radiation survey instruments for contamination measurements, and in some cases will also accommodate other radiation-detection probes like a zinc sulfide scintillator probe.

Portable Multichannel Analyzers are affordable and increasingly common devices consisting of a photomultiplier tube coupled with a sodium iodide crystal and outfitted with a small multichannel analyzer electronics package. When radiation sources are unknown, these handheld devices can detect the type of radioactivity when employing automatic gamma-ray energy identification procedures and gamma-ray data libraries.

Micrometers with sodium iodide scintillation detectors are handheld radiation detection devices outfitted with a solid crystal of sodium iodide that creates a pulse of light when radiation interacts with it. A photomultiplier tube converts the pulse of light, proportional to the amount of light and the energy deposited in the crystal, to an electrical signal, which can be read on the instrument display. In some devices, special types of plastic or other inert crystal “scintillator” materials can also replace the use of sodium iodide. 

Ionization (Ion) Chambers are devices with an inner wall and central anode that are electrically conductive and relatively low applied voltage compared to other devices. An electrometer circuit displays a small electrical current when x-ray or gamma radiation interactions occur in the chamber wall and create primary ion pairs in the air volume. Most ionization chambers must be calibrated to a traceable radiation source and corrected to accommodate changes in pressure and temperature in a room, as they are “open air.” In that most ion chambers are “open air,” they must be corrected for changes in temperature and pressure. 

Radon Detectors are instruments that utilize different techniques to accommodate a variety of situations, the advantages and disadvantages of which ought to be considered prior to use. Air filters can collect radon decay products. Charcoal canisters can be exposed for several days and gamma spectroscopy is performed.  CR-39 plastic can also be exposed for a long period of time followed by chemical etching and alpha track counting. These devices can be used in the home. 

Neutron REM Meter, with Proportional Counter, is a handheld device that is similar to the GM tube but contains a gas-filled boron trifluoride or helium-3 proportional counter tube. It reads an electrical pulse created by ionization in the gas and charged particles when a high voltage is applied. Neutron radiation interacts with the gas in the tube to create the electrical pulse. A downside of these proportional counters, which measure neutrons, is that they require a substantial amount of hydrogenous material around them to slow the neutron to thermal energies.

Worn Instruments has radiation detection badges that are optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dosimeter badges, which are the industry standard used by the government, hospitals, labs, and companies worldwide. These small and discrete devices can be worn on your lapel and are designed to detect X, gamma, beta and some include neutron radiation. OSL dosimeters utilize aluminum oxide (AI203) to absorb and release X-ray energy to precisely measure the dose of radiation received. OSL dosimeters are most beneficial for employees who work in environments where radiation is present. OSL is considered the industry standard for dosimeter badges.

These badges are also worn by women who are pregnant. Instead of the badge being worn on the collar or lapel, the badge is put directly over the fetus and keeps track of the radiation exposure. Check your local state laws. In some states, it is a requirement for women who are pregnant to wear a fetal monitor.  Fetal monitors are worn daily and need to be sent to the lab on a monthly basis. 

Other worn instruments are radiation monitoring rings. These dosimeter rings pick up radiation exposure to the hand from various tasks associated with radiology (including but not limited to NOMAD devices), security, mail processing, and other areas where radiation is being emitted.

Whether you need an OSL XBG whole-body radiation badge, a fetal monitor, or a TLD ring can help you save time, save money and protect your employees with industry-standard radiation monitoring?

X-Ray, Gamma, and Beta Radiation Dosimeters

X-Ray, Gamma, and Beta Radiation Dosimeters

X-Ray, Gamma, and Beta Radiation Dosimeters for Medical Personnel

Radiation exposure comes in various forms, including X-rays, gamma rays, and beta particles. Dosimeters used by medical professionals measure various types of ionizing radiation while keeping medical personnel safe. The dosimeters monitor exposure rates and sent to the lab. Our lob typically read the dosimeter badges and issues a report within 2-3 business day.. If you are a healthcare worker you should be aware of the dangers. Understanding the basics and some good practices in the office can help protect you.

Our bodies are like sponges when it comes to radiation. X-ray radiation is absorbed in our bodies and can harm our health.  For example, x-ray radiation can damage DNA structures. Over time, radiation exposure can lead to hair loss, organ failure, and cancer.

Beta and gamma exposure can also harm our bodies. Beta radiation is emitted by radioactive materials such as cobalt 60, cesium 137, and strontium 90. This type of radiation damages DNA and can lead to cancer. Gamma radiation is emitted by high-energy photons, such as those produced by a nuclear reactor. Gamma radiation can also damage DNA and also lead to cancer.

Practicing safe protocols is key when working around radiation starts with ALARA.

ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable

Time- How much time do you spend around the radioactive source?dosimeters for medical personnel

Distance- How close are you to the radioactive source?
Shielding-Do you have a shield between yourself and the radiation source?
For more information go to the CDC or talk with your radiation safety officer (RSO).
And always make sure you are badged with Radiation Safety’s OSL XBG dosimeter badge.

Basics of Radiation Safety

Understanding the basics of radiation safety starts by recognizing that radioactivity is around us all of the time. Unfortunately, our human senses cannot detect radiation without assistance.Similar to carbon monoxide, we need something to alert us. provides dosimeter and radiation detection badges that can be worn discreetly and can detection ionizing radiation.

dental x rays

Even Digital X-rays Emit Radiation.

Basics of Radiation Safety

All around us radioactive particles. Radioactive isotopes are found in natural minerals. Dosimeter badges help us monitor the scatter radiation emitted.  It is prudent to be prepared in case you,  your coworkers and/or your employees come in contact with ionizing radiation. Remember,  you cannot see radiation but it can have the potential to cause life-altering and painful damage. Detecting the radiation, monitoring the time you spend around it and having proper shielding can help protect you. 

In order to build a step-by-step guide, it is essential to first understand how radiation protection works. With reference to exposure to radiation from the sun and the measures you take to protect yourself from solar radiation, radiation protection consists of time, distance, and shielding. These three principles are effective individually but most effectively work in tandem. With that understanding of time, distance and shielding you can help you protect yourself and others from the negative affects of ionizing radiation. 

Time: Limit or minimize the length of time you are exposed to radiation. The dose of radiation is linearly correlated to the length of time you are exposed to radiation. The longer the exposure, the more damage. Just like a sunburn can occur within 30 minutes, radiation burns from x-rays, alpha rays or gamma rays can occur quickly and cause painful damage. 

Distance: Limit or minimize the proximity to the source of radiation. The closer the exposure, the more damage. The severity of damage due to radiation exposure exponentially decreases comparatively to the distance to the source. Even though earth is 93 million miles from the Sun, we still experience damage from solar radiation. 

Shielding: Devices can provide protection from radioactivity. Shielding works because of the principle of attenuation, the gradual decrease of energy’s intensity through a medium, by absorbing radiation between the source of radioactivity and the location to be protected.  

Just like applying sunscreen with a high SPF when you are in direct sunlight. The sunscreen should provide  protection from the sun. Lead, concrete, and water are mediums that are high in density which can be used to shield you from penetrating gamma rays and x-rays. Practically, doctors place lead blankets or thyroid collars on their patients during routine x-rays which helps limit the exposure. 

What to Do in a Nuclear Disaster?

 in the event of a large or catastrophic radiation crisis such as a nuclear powerplant accident, a terrorist attack, or a weapon of war. 

Take Shelter

If you are outside, locate the nearest building and go inside quickly to minimize the time and distance of exposure to the source of radioactivity.

If you are already inside, go to the center of your room and stay away from doors and windows. The walls, especially if they are concrete will provide shielding from radioactivity. Gather your family, coworkers, and employees with you. Be sure to bring inside any pets or animals.  

Stay Indoors

It may be the case that you need to shelter indoors for an extended period of time. Keep calm and stay indoors until you have been given permission that it is safe to go outside. 

While you are inside, keep doors and windows closed. If you were exposed to radiation, take a shower and wash the parts of your body that were not protected with soap and water. Drink and eat only items that are sealed.

Keep Alert

Your local emergency responders will provide updates on if and when it is safe to venture outside. They have been trained to respond in these types of situations. Use radio, TV, or your phones to watch for updates and receive instructions on where to get tested for contamination.  

These three steps – Take Shelter, Stay Indoors, and Keep Alert – utilizing the principles of time, distance and shielding, are effective on how to protect yourself from radiation in a large-scale radioactive event. To limit everyday exposure to radiation, wearable devices can be worn for detection like those from   

In an emergency situation or for more information on the basics of radiation safety contact the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide more helpful information. 


What is a Dosimeter or Radiation Detection Badge?

What is a Dosimeter or Radiation Detection Badge?

What is a dosimeter or radiation detection badge? A radiation dosimeter badge is also known as an x-ray badge. A dosimeter badge is a device that measures your radiation exposure from scatter radiation. It identifies different radiation types, such as high-energy gamma, beta, or X-ray radiation. However, it cannot pick up on low-energy radiation from isotopes such as carbon-14, sulfur-35, or tritium1.

Radiation detection badges do not protect you from radiation. Instead, they calculate your total occupational radiation exposure so that your exposure stays within safe limits. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines radiation thresholds above which radiation can become dangerous. These guidelines recommend radiation not exceeding 100 millisieverts (10 rem)2. Badges can help to ensure that your exposure does not exceed this amount.

This article will discuss the benefits of knowing your radiation exposure and how such information can help keep you safe at work.

Why should you wear a radiation detection badge?

There are several benefits associated with wearing a radiation detection badge. These benefits are detailed below.

Protection from the hidden dangers of radiation

Radiation can harm our tissues, primarily affecting our genetic material known as DNA. It damages DNA by breaking important bonds and water molecules in and around our DNA. When this occurs, free radicals are released. Free radicals are substances that can seriously injure your cells and organs3.

Radiation is particularly harmful at higher doses. Though we receive low doses of radiation from our natural environment, we can also expose ourselves to radiation on the job. When exposed to radiation on the job, it is essential to track your radiation dose to ensure that it is within safe limits. High radiation doses increase your likelihood of radiation-associated health risks. For example, high radiation exposure has been linked to:

  • Cancer
  • Fetal harm
  • Death4

Peace of mind

Wearing a radiation detection badge can also give you peace of mind that you are not putting yourself at risk while at work. For example, if you operate fluoroscopy units or X-ray machines, you may be exposed to high-energy radiation. Likewise, you may be worried about the risks associated with your job and how your work may affect your risk of cancer or other complications.

By wearing a radiation detection badge, you can know the exact amount of radiation exposure. By monitoring your radiation exposure, you can understand that you are protecting yourself from excessive amounts of radiation and putting your health first.

Prevention of potential lawsuits

Radiation detection badges do not just give peace of mind to employees who work around radiation but also to their employers. By utilizing badges and monitoring radiation appropriately, the likelihood of illness due to radiation exposure is low. When radiation is within safe limits, employees will be less likely to develop complications due to their work. Therefore, they will be less likely to sue their employer for a hazardous workplace. Additionally, having employees wear radiation detection badges ensures that the employer does their due diligence to keep their workers safe.


  1. Personal radiation dosimeter. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2022, from
  2. US EPA, O. (2014, November 12). Radiation health effects [Overviews and Factsheets].
  3. CDC. (2015, December 7). Health effects of radiation: Health effects depend on the dose. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. CDC. (2021, August 9). Health effects of radiation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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