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Test of Radiation Detectors used in Homeland Security Applications

Pibida, L; Minniti, R; O’Brien, M; Unterweger, M*

Health Physics:
doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000156062.92296.38
A Guide to SI Units in Radiation Protection: Operational Topic

This work was performed as part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) program to support the development of the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards N42.32-2003 and N42.33-2003 for hand-held detectors, and personal electronic dosimeters, as well as to support the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in testing these types of detectors for their use by first responders. These instruments are required to operate over a photon energy range of 60 keV to 1.33 MeV and over a wide range of air-kerma rates. The performance and response of various radiation detectors, purchased by the NIST, was recorded when placed in 60Co, 137Cs, and x-ray beams at different air-kerma rates. The measurements described in this report were performed at the NIST x-ray and gamma-ray radiation calibration facilities. The instruments’ response (exposure or dose rate readings) shows strong energy dependence but almost no dependence to different air-kerma rates. The data here reported provide a benchmark in support of current protocols that are being developed for radiation detection instrumentation used in homeland security applications. A future plan is to test these devices, plus other commercially available detectors, against ANSI standards N42.32-2003 and N42.33-2003.

Author Information

* NIST, 100 Bureau Dr. Stop 8462, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8462.

Manufacturers need to do a better job of characterizing their instruments and providing users with better information about their detector’s response and performance.

©2005Health Physics Society