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Applications of the Radiation Dosimeters

Radiation Dosimeter

The radiation dosimeter is a device designed to detect and measure the amount of ionizing radiation a person or object has been exposed to over a significant period of time, up to an entire lifetime. They are an important tool in determining the potential hazardous impact of long-term exposure to radiation such as alpha rays, beta rays, gamma rays, and x-rays. radiation dosimeter

The reason that radiation dosimeters are important is that ionizing radiation tends to have a negative cumulative effect on a person, causing damage that cannot be detected in the same way a cut, bruise or broken bone can be. Yet, in many professions workers may be exposed to significant amounts of radiation that can cause serious health issues with time.

Technically speaking, a radiation dosimeter, or radiation detector, is extremely sensitive to ionizing radiation. It can detect very low levels of contamination, as low as 1 millirad per hour of radiation. Most radiation dosimeter models also have the ability to determine the type or types of isotopes producing the radiation as well as measure the dose. Both high-LET and low-LET radiation can be detected by a radiation dosimeter.

Types of Radiation Dosimeter
There are quite a few radiation dosimeter types available. They include quartz fiber, film badge, thermoluminescent and solid state dosimeter models. Quartz fiber dosimeters need to be charged daily. Film badge dosimeter models are disposable and inexpensive. They indicate exposure through a change of color on the film. Electronic hand-held or pocket models are also available that measure gamma radiation dose and dose rate, including the evaluation of surface radiation caused by contamination from beta radionuclides. Most employ a built-in Geiger Muller counter.

Applications of the Radiation Dosimeter
These useful devices are employed in a wide range of professions, especially as uses for ionizing radiation continue to be developed. Wherever radioactive equipment is in use, a radiation dosimeter will also be in use to detect, measure and record potential exposure to harmful radiation. Radiographers, workers in nuclear power plants, technicians and physicians who use radiotherapy, HAZMAT teams that work with radiation, and those who work in laboratories where radionuclides are in use all wear a radiation dosimeter to monitor their ongoing exposure to radiation. By law, workers in these professions must be monitored for exposure to radiation in order to determine that their exposure is below limits allowed by law. Even NASA space shuttle crew members wore a radiation dosimeter during each mission.

The radiation dosimeter is a very useful tool for continually monitoring potential exposure to radiation. It has many applications in today’s high-tech world. While many passive types are in use, using an active radiation dosimeter is considered the best way to achieve precise and accurate ongoing measurement of exposure to radiation.