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.

Basics of Radiation Detection

Radiation Detection

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

dental x ray techs need dosimeter badges Basics of Radiation Detection

Even Digital X-rays Emit Radiation.

Basics of Radiation Safety

All around us are 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 potentially cause life-altering and painful damage. Detecting the radiation, monitoring the time you spend around it, and having proper shielding can help protect you. 

To build a step-by-step guide, it is essential first to 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 practical individually but most effectively work in tandem. With that understanding of time, distance, and shielding you can help protect yourself and others from the adverse affects of ionizing radiation. 

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

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

Shielding: Devices can protect 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 in direct sunlight. The sunscreen should provide protection from the Sun. Lead, concrete, and water are mediums that are high in density and 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 significant 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. Keep calm and stay indoors until you have been permitted that it is safe to go outside. 

While inside, keep doors and windows closed if you were exposed to radiation, 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 when it is safe to be outside. They have been trained to respond in these types of situations. Use the radio, TV, or your phone 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 in how to protect yourself from radiation in a large-scale radioactive event. To limit and monitor radiation exposure, wearable devices can be worn for detection by   

In an emergency 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. 



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