Can You Detect Radiation? A Comprehensive Guide

Humans are unable to detect radiation with their senses, but a variety of instruments are available for detecting and measuring it. The most common type of radiation detector is a Geiger-Mueller (GM) tube, also known as a Geiger counter. It works by detecting the ionizing power of the decay structures of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. Alpha decay is the most ionizing, but has the least penetrating depth.

Beta decay is less ionizing but has a more penetrating depth and can travel further. Gamma decay is the least ionizing, but is the most penetrating and can only be stopped by thick lead. In addition to traditional instruments, smartphones can also be used to detect radiation. By using an app, you can receive a warning on your phone when you approach potentially harmful levels of gamma radiation.

Scientists tested this radiation detection application on four smartphones and concluded that it works well enough to be a useful alert system for first responders. The advantage of using a smartphone application in radiation detection is that it is cheap, easy to operate and accessible, since many people own smartphones. Other methods and equipment used to detect radiation include film plates, gas ionization devices, Geiger-Muller counters, radon detectors, personal radiation detectors, fog chambers, and scintillation counters. These indicate high levels of radiation for some time, while the other detectors indicate levels of radiation at that point.

Photographic film plates can be used to detect radiation as ionizing particles interact with the film to change the optical density of the film.The advantage of using a smartphone app in radiation detection is that it is cheap, easy to operate and accessible, since many people have smartphones. Scientists concluded that phones have the processing power to detect gamma radiation with their built-in cameras and measure levels on the phone. This work aims to inform a detailed investigation of a well-reviewed smartphone application for radiation dosimetry that is available for popular smartphone devices under a calibration protocol that is typically used for commercial calibration of radiation detectors.Advanced image sensors installed in smartphones can be used to detect ionizing radiation in addition to visible light. Of course, it won't be as sensitive as a normal detector, but it's definitely enough to detect radiation before it reaches deadly levels and is useful enough as a warning system.When talking about radiation detection instruments, there are three types of detectors that are most often used depending on the specific needs of the device: Geiger-Mueller (GM) tubes, film plates, and smartphone applications.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to detecting radiation.

Isaac Delpozo
Isaac Delpozo

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