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Study of the Stability of EPR Signals After Irradiation OF Fingernail Samples

Reyes, Ricardo A.; Trompier, François; Romanyukha, Alexander

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31824ac338

Previous studies have suggested that the electron paramagnetic resonance in fingernails can be used for radiation dosimetry purposes. Use of fingernails as an emergency dosimeter has benefits of easy, noninvasive sampling and fast dose measurements (∼10 min) potentially in field conditions and almost immediately after an exposure event. This study represents the next step in the development of EPR fingernail dosimetry; e.g., evaluation of the stability of the radiation-induced signal (RIS) at different storage and irradiation conditions. RIS fading during storage in both stressed (untreated) and unstressed (soaked in water) samples (n = 20) was studied at two temperature conditions: freezing (temp ≈ −20°C) and room temperature (20–24°C). Fingernail samples with the same clipping size and number and irradiated to 15 and 20 Gy were measured for over 200 d. Those irradiated to 100 and 200 Gy were measured for 114 d. The other group of samples irradiated to 1, 3, 8, and 20 Gy was followed for 25 mo of storage time. This study demonstrated that all samples that were kept at low freezing temperatures showed a stable RIS with no significant fading. All samples that were kept at room temperatures showed an initial fading of the signal with a slow rise of the EPR signal after irradiation with time to a saturation level. Obtained results allow making recommendations on the appropriate storage conditions of fingernails for EPR dosimetry use.

*Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; †Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France; ‡Naval Dosimetry Center, Bethesda, MD.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

For correspondence contact: Alexander Romanyukha, Naval Dosimetry Center, Bethesda, MD, or email at

Manuscript accepted 11 January 2012

© 2012 by the Health Physics Society