Detecting Nuclear Radiation: A Guide for Non-Professionals

Radiation detection is a complex process that requires the use of specialized instruments. The most common type of radiation detector is a Geiger-Mueller (GM) tube, also known as a Geiger counter. Scintillation detectors are also used in radiation detection instruments, as they are able to emit light when exposed to radiation. This makes them highly sensitive and able to capture specific spectroscopic profiles for the radioactive materials measured.

It is impossible to detect radiation through sight, touch, or smell. Instead, portable devices and lab tools should be used. Workers at medical and nuclear power plants are constantly exposed to low doses of radiation, which can lead to radiation sickness if not monitored properly.

With the increasing use of nuclear energy and theranostic nuclear medicine, there is a need for a technique that can be used by non-professional personnel to detect radiation in triage incidents or as an alarm. Smartphones can be used for this purpose, as they are intended to detect visible light and can also detect the higher energies of ionizing radiation.

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