In case of a nuclear accident personal electronics could be used as a reliable dosimeter radiation contamination, according to Science News, citing the work of scientists from the University of North Carolina, which will be published in the February issue of the journal Radiation Measurements. Each personal mobile device, either a regular phone, smartphone, fitness tracker, smart watch, etc. are used a particular ceramic dielectric, which is under the influence of high temperatures begins to glow. The analysis of this glow allows you to define the intended dose of radiation, which could get the owner of the device.
Most interesting is that the method allows to determine the dose of radiation poisoning within just a few hours, while routine blood tests in such cases may require several weeks, explains study co-author, nuclear engineer Robert Hayes of the University of North Carolina. The ability to quickly assess the risk of radiation contamination, and typically the subsequent radiation sickness should take the necessary measures of treatment, the scientists add.
When radiation penetrates the ceramic components (particularly SMD-resistors, about them speech), it rebuilds the distribution of electrons in defects of the crystal structure of ceramics. If you then ceramics is heated to hundreds of degrees Celsius, it begins to glow. Light waves within the spectra contain information about electron distribution in the material. By analyzing this information, researchers can determine what dose of radiation has caused this redistribution of electrons.
Hayes together with his colleague Ryan O Marra from the same University conducted an experiment that showed the effectiveness of the developed method for the determination of radiation contamination. They irradiated SMD-resistors with radiation level 0.005, 0.015, 0.03, 0.06, 0.125, 0.25 and 0.5 gray (unit of radiation dose, 1 j/kg). At the very low level of radiation exposure, the researchers were able to correctly assess the dose within 0.01 gray; when exposed to a radiation level of 0.5 gray error was 0.05 grey.
In other words, this test is accurate enough to determine whether the owner of the mobile device immediate treatment of radiation poisoning, which usually occurs when you receive a dose from 1 up to a few gray radiation, Hayes explains. In addition, the method allows to assess the risk of human malignant tumors in result of radiation, which increases significantly at doses of 0.2 gray.
The only drawback of the new method is that the cost of the device with which the analysis of the luminescence of the ceramic components, is about $ 150,000. Therefore, people who could get into the zone field radiation in any case have to send your mobile device to specialized laboratories for validation, but better — to go along with their gadgets.