In recent years, a number of external dosimetry problems have been solved. However, changes in standards and legal concepts relating to the application of dosimetry results will require further enhancements in measurement techniques and philosophy in the next 10 y. The introduction of effective dose equivalent and the legal use of probability of causation will require that much greater attention be given to determination of weighted organ dose from external exposure. An imminent change-an increase in the fast neutron quality factor-will require a new round of technology development in a field that has just received a decade of close scrutiny. For the future, we must take advantage of developments in microelectronics. The use of random access memory (RAM) and metal-on-silicon (MOS) devices as detector elements, particularly for neutron dosimetry, has exciting possibilities that are just beginning to be explored. Advances in microcircuitry are leading, and will continue to lead, in the development of a new generation of small, rugged and “smart” radiation survey instruments that will make the most of detector data. It has become possible with very compact instruments to obtain energy spectra, linear-energy-transfer (LET) spectra, and quality factors in addition to the usual integrated dosimetric quantities: exposure, absorbed dose, and dose equivalent. These instruments will be reliable and easy to use. The user will be able to select the level of sophistication that is required for any specific application. Moreover, since the processing algorithms can be changed, changes in conversion factors can be accommodated with relative ease. During the next decade, the use of computers will continue to grow in value to the health physicist. Personal computers and codes designed for dosimetry applications will become prominent, providing the health physicist with the ability to perform sophisticated data reduction, spectra unfolding and even radiation modeling and transport calculations on the desk top. In the far term, the use of computers could extend to the development of sophisticated tracking systems that would follow and record the workers' movements throughout a radiation area. These data, together with information from area monitors, air samplers and personnel dosimeters, could be used to develop truly integrated dose estimates, including reconstruction of organ doses.
©1988Health Physics Society