Answer to Question #8543 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Instrumentation and Measurements — Personnel Monitoring (PM)

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

I am new to the health physics industry and wanted to learn more about dosimetry, biosensors, and more. Could you suggest any market/industry research firms or reports that I could read to ramp my learning curve and learn more about the products and industry?


There is a lot of information available in the area of radiation dosimetry, which is a very broad topic area that includes philosophical, calculational, and empirical aspects as they apply to both external dosimetry and internal dosimetry. I shall assume that your reference to dosimetry applies more to personnel dosimetry—i.e., systems and methods for measuring external doses received by individuals exposed to radiation. You include a specific reference to biosensors, which relate to methods of assessment of personnel dose using certain biologic changes induced by radiation interaction in the bodies of exposed individuals.

You can obtain an overview, with some details, of the overall topic of personnel dosimetry (as well as most other important topic areas in health physics) by consulting most modern textbooks that deal with radiation protection, e.g., Herman Cember and Thomas Johnson's Introduction to Health Physics (McGraw-Hill, 2008). Glenn Knoll's well-known text Radiation Detection and Measurements (3rd ed., Wiley & Sons, 2000) is a very good source for some additional information about specific dosimeter devices.

If you are a member of the Health Physics Society, you have access to past publications of the Health Physics Journal through the Members Login link from the home page; click on the link, sign in, and select "Publications" from the choices to access the Journal. You can search for any topic area of interest by keyword, author, etc. Perhaps a good place to start is with a review article by John Poston, Sr., "External Dosimetry and Personnel Monitoring," Health Physics 88(4):289-296, April 2005. If you have specific interests in particular types of dosimetry—e.g., thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD), optically stimulated lumlinescence (OSL), electronic pocket (or personal) dosimeters (EPD)—naturally you can search for articles on these on the Health Physics Journal site. Another very good journal on all aspects of dosimetry is Radiation Protection Dosimetry, an Oxford journal.

There is also a great deal of information available through searches under specific topics on the Internet. If you are interested in vendors that manufacture personnel dosimetry devices and/or provide dosimetry services, there are numerous companies in the market. A few common providers (no endorsements intended by citations) are Panasonic (a manufacturer of commonly used TLD systems), Landauer (a provider of OSL-based personnel dosimetry), and Mirion Technologies (previously Global Dosimetry), also a dosimetry provider (TLDs, neutron plastic etch detectors, etc). A number of vendors also supply electronic pocket dosimetry devices—some examples are Ludlum Measurements, Inc., MGP Instruments (some available through Radiation Safety and Control Services), SAIC, and Canberra.

Regarding biological dosimetry, there is also a fair amount of information available on the Internet. If you access the Health Physics Journal, you can find numerous articles by searching under the keyword "biodosimetry" and "biological dosimetry." If you are a member of the Health Physics Society you receive monthly newsletters titled Health Physics News, and the September 2009 issue contained a lead article by Gen Roessler discussing a method being developed by the Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory (CBL) of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS); the article is titled "Quick Count of Dicentrics for Dose Estimates - Web-Based Consortium of Cytogenetic Laboratories for Rapid Triage and Emergency Dose Assessment." More information on the CBL can be found on its website, and additional information about REAC/TS is also available at its home page.

These are a few of many possible resources related to personal dosimetry. I hope they are sufficient to get you moving in the right direction, and I wish you well in your new career.

George Chabot, PhD, CHP

Answer posted on 16 September 2009. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.