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Gamma Radiation & Other Ionizing Radiation

Radiation includes a very broad set of particles

, some of which are harmful and some of which pose no threat to living organisms. Exposure to harmful radiation can be deadly, which makes it important to know proper protection and detection methods. The main types of radiation particles are non-ionizing and ionizing. Within each category are many different types of radiation, each with unique properties and effects. Ionizing radiation includes Alpha, Beta, Neutrons, X-Rays, and Gamma Rays. This type of radiation is one with enough energy to break chemical bonds and remove electrons from atoms. In order to make use of proper protection and detection methods, a basic understanding of the types of ionizing radiation will be necessary.

Gamma radiation is a type of ionizing radiation. Gamma radiation is produced by a high state of energy within an atoms nuclei. Usually naturally occurring, gamma rays can often come from man-made sources. One of the first discovered sources for gamma rays is gamma decay or radioactive decay. This refers to the high energy nucleus emitting gamma rays upon formation. Many scientists originally believed gamma to be a higher energy form of X-Rays, but further studies revealed clear distinctions between the two. Gamma rays require large amounts of mass for shielding, such as lead or other similarly heavy material.

X-Rays are another type of ionizing radiation. This type of electromagnetic radiation has a longer wavelength than gamma rays, but shorter than UV rays. X-Rays can be hard or soft, each type with the ability to penetrate different types of matter. Hard X-Rays can penetrate hard objects and are typically used in diagnostic radiography. Soft X-Rays can penetrate little if any matter. X-Rays are used most often in the medical field. The main types of X-Rays used in medical imaging include plain X-Rays, computer tomography, fluoroscopy, and radiotherapy. For shielding purposes, lead is the most commonly used material.

Alpha Particles are a type of ionizing radiation, which consist of two protons and two neutrons bound together in one particle. Similar to helium, alpha particles have a net spin of zero. Alpha is much more harmful through ingestion than any other type of exposure, although it can easily be shielded with thin material or paper. Beta particles are produced during beta decay. Emitted in the form of beta rays, they exist in - decay (electron emission) or + decay (positron emission).

Neutrons are another type of ionizing radiation. First discovered in 1920, neutrons were studied extensively over the next decades. Scientists eventually came to understand that neutrons could exist as bound or free. Bound neutrons are stable, while free neutrons are unstable. Free neutrons can be obtained only during nuclear reactions, high-energy reactions, or nuclear disintegrations. Protection against free neutrons is crucial, as they can be quite hazardous. Exposure to free neutrons should be avoided as much as possible, as this is the only method of protection that is effective. Understanding proper detection methods for all types of radiation is the only way to avoid the risks of exposure.

When dealing with ionizing radiation, proper radiation detectors and shielding will be necessary. As the scientific community came to know more about radiation after its discovery in the late 1800s, many products were developed to offer detection and protection against exposure. Since exposure to harmful radiation is measured in time, the best way to avoid risk is to measure the amount of radiation in an area in order to stay a safe distance from the active area. Government agencies, nuclear plants, and other organizations use radiation detectors in order to assess the risk of exposure and implement proper shielding and protection methods.

Commonly used radiation detectors include Dosimeters, Survey Meters/Detectors, and Detection/Identification Devices. Each type of equipment is useful in different types of detection. Depending on the most likely type of exposure, one or more type of detector or identifier may be required. Dosimeters are used to measure an object or individuals exposure to radiation. For wide range detection of the amount of radiation in an area, survey meters or detectors are ideal. In order to detect the amount of and/or identify the specific type of radiation present, identification devices are the most useful.

UDetection has a long history of creating innovative products for radiation detection, identification, and measuring. By using the latest technologies in the field, UDetection creates cutting edge products for highly effective results. For reliable radiation detection, contact UDetection at (310) 248-3655.

by:Univesal Detection Technology

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Gamma Radiation & Other Ionizing Radiation