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Calibration of Radiation Instruments Overview, Practical Techniques, Irradiators Illustrated by Robert Rushton. Hopewell Designs, Inc. OVERVIEW. Calibration of Instruments Irradiators Illustrated Chain of Traceability NIST International Standards. Calibration of Instruments.

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Hopewell designs inc

Calibration of Radiation InstrumentsOverview, Practical Techniques, Irradiators IllustratedbyRobert Rushton

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.



  • Calibration of Instruments

  • Irradiators Illustrated

  • Chain of Traceability

  • NIST

  • International Standards

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration of instruments

Calibration of Instruments

  • Steps in a Typical Calibration Procedure

  • What Is Important in a Calibration

  • Features that Help Improve Calibrations

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Steps in a typical calibration

Steps in a Typical Calibration

  • Receive instrument and log into system

  • Perform as found set of readings, typically 20% & 80% full scale, all scales

  • If required, repair instrument

  • Calibrate and adjust until it falls within specifications, typically within 10%

  • Record to database, prepare report

  • Prepare for shipment, log out of system

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Elements of a calibration program

Elements of a Calibration Program

  • Equipment

  • Personnel

  • Training

  • Database, Records Keeping

  • Procedures

  • QA Program

  • Traceability and Accreditation

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Why they are important

Why they are important …

  • Procedures – drive the overall program

  • QA – keeps the program on track

  • Training – people make it happen, training shows them how

  • Records – documents what is done

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration on an irradiator

Calibration on an Irradiator

  • Set up irradiator for exposure rate

    • Track position

    • Source & attenuator selection

    • Expose source

  • Record data and/or adjust instrument

  • Go to next step in procedure

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Irradiator control screen

Irradiator Control Screen

  • System Status

  • Exposure Control

  • Time

  • Setup

  • Positioning

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Exposure rate linked to position

Exposure Rate Linked to Position

  • Exposure rate calculates distance, or

  • Enter desired distance & exposure rate calculated

  • Based on polynomial equation from irradiator calibration

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Position instrument on platform

Position Instrument on Platform

Box Calibrator

Gamma Beam Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

One button setup

One Button Setup


  • Pull-down menu

  • Can move to any step in any order

  • PROCEDURE – defined by user

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Control screen with instrument viewing

Control Screen with Instrument Viewing

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Record data to database

Record Data to Database

  • Record As Found / As Left readings & comments

  • Use separate database or irradiator’s built-in function

  • At completion, print out calibration report

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Features that improve calibration

Features that Improve Calibration

  • Automation helps with:

    • Control of Irradiator

    • Automation of Procedures

    • Data Collection and Analysis

    • Database Links

  • Benefits Include

    • Improved Accuracy

    • Higher Throughput

    • Audit Trail for Records

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Irradiators illustrated

Irradiators Illustrated

  • An Overview of Irradiators – from Sterilization to Calibration

  • Calibration Irradiators – Types and Isotopes

  • A Detailed Look at 2 Types of Irradiators – LSI and GBI at SRS

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

An overview of irradiators from sterilization to calibration

An Overview of Irradiators – from Sterilization to Calibration

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Nas radiation source use and replacement report

NAS Radiation Source Use and Replacement Report

  • Radiation Sources: Uses and Origins

  • Radiation Source Risk

  • Accelerator and Detector Technology

  • Self-Contained Irradiators

  • Panoramic Irradiators

  • Radiotherapy

  • Industrial Radiography

  • Well Logging

  • Implementation Options to Encourage Replacement of Sources with Alternatives

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Sterilization irradiators

Sterilization Irradiators

  • 7 million Ci Co-60

  • Electron Beam

  • High Dose, High Throughput

  • Medical, Increasingly Food

  • Approx. 200 worldwide

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Blood irradiators

Blood Irradiators

  • Prevents transfusion associated graft versus host disease

  • Located at most major hospitals

  • 100’s in operation

  • Self-contained, simple to operate

  • Majority use Cs-137

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

X ray blood and research irradiators

X-Ray Blood and Research Irradiators

  • No Security Req’d

  • Lower Energy Beam

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Research irradiators

Research Irradiators

  • Cs-137 irradiation for medical research, Co-60 for higher doses

    • Cancer research,

    • Immunology,

    • DNA damage/repair,

    • Materials degradation

    • Space research.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration irradiators

Calibration Irradiators

  • Calibration of radiation instruments

  • Smallest segment of irradiator types in terms of qnty and total isotope activity

  • Wide variety of designs and isotopes

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration irradiators1

Calibration Irradiators

  • Gamma

  • Box

  • X-Ray

  • Neutron

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Gamma free in air

Gamma Free In Air

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Gamma beam panoramic irradiators

Gamma Beam & Panoramic Irradiators

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Panoramic dosimeter irradiator

Panoramic Dosimeter Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Box calibrator

Box Calibrator

  • Self-contained

  • Typical dual source with attenuator set

  • 6 orders of magnitude of exposure rates

  • Built in security (but must be fed)

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Well irradiator

Well Irradiator

  • Good for production calibration

  • No exposure room req’d

  • 9m travel & X100 attenuator give range of 4 orders of magnitude

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Gamma well control station

Gamma Well & Control Station

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Small gamma irradiator

Small Gamma Irradiator

  • Self contained

  • 5 Ci Cs-137 source

  • For EPDs, PICs, Instrument Probes

  • 3 Attenuators – 0 to1000X

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Am 241 irradiator

Am-241 Irradiator

  • Low energy gamma beam

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Neutron free in air

Neutron Free In Air

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Pneumatic neutron gamma irradiator 4 positioning tracks

Pneumatic Neutron/Gamma Irradiator & 4 Positioning Tracks

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Pneumatic transfer system

Pneumatic Transfer System

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Neutron well irradiator

Neutron Well Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

X ray beam irradiator

X-Ray Beam Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Beta beam irradiator

Beta Beam Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

A detailed look at 2 types of irradiators lsi and gbi at srs

A Detailed Look at 2 Types of Irradiators – LSI and GBI at SRS

  • Mechanical & Electrical Design

  • Sources and Ranges

  • Control System

  • Automated Irradiator Software

  • Irradiator Calibration, Automated

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Low scatter irradiator

Low Scatter Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Lsi 4 tracks below ground source storage

LSI - 4 tracks, below ground source storage

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Lsi basement

LSI Basement

  • Below ground shield for 7 sources

  • Staircase to basement

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Gamma beam irradiator

Gamma Beam Irradiator

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Source transfer tube for gbi curved to prevent radiation shine

Source Transfer Tube for GBI - curved to prevent radiation shine

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Source holders rabbits

Source Holders - “Rabbits”

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Major functions of automation

Major Functions of Automation

  • Control of Irradiator

  • Automation of Procedures

  • Data Collection and Analysis

  • Database Links

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Computer control

Computer Control

  • 1 Button Setup

  • Exposure Rate Calculation

  • Automated Irradiator Calibration

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Safety systems

Safety Systems

  • Fail-Safe Design

  • Indicator Lights

  • Search & Evict Process

  • Door Interlocks

  • Emergency Off Switch

  • Error Monitoring

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration of irradiator


  • Ion chamber traceable to NIST used to measure exposure rate

  • Measurements made over full range of track for each source/attenuator

  • Data reviewed for accuracy and consistency

  • Actual data fit to polynomial equation for exposure rate vs. distance.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Calibration set up

Calibration Set Up

Ion Chamber in Beam Centerline

Electrometer Linked to Computer

Software for Data Collection

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Irradiator calibration

Irradiator Calibration

  • Set up parameters

  • Ion Chamber

  • Electrometer

  • Calibration Points

  • Exposure

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Positioning track set up

Positioning Track Set Up

  • Number of Distances to Measure

  • Geometric/Linear

  • Range

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Automated irradiator operation

Automated Irradiator Operation

  • Track position set

  • Electrometer polled

  • Exposure controlled

  • Data recorded

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Data analysis

Data Analysis

  • Data is fit to polynomial curve

  • Parameters and equation stored to database.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Chain of traceability

Chain of Traceability

  • Instrument Calibration Labs

  • Secondary Level Calibration Labs

  • Primary Calibration Labs

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Secondary calibration labs

Secondary Calibration Labs

  • High level of precision, accuracy, and error checking

  • Single tier traceability to national standard

  • In the United States

    • Univ. of Wisconsin

    • K&S Associates

  • International

    • Many countries do not maintain primary standards

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

National institute of standards and technology

National Institute of Standards and Technology

  • Overview of the Ionizing Radiation Division

  • A Detailed Look at the X-Ray Calibration Ranges

  • Free Air Chamber – the Primary Standard for 50 to 300 kV X-Rays

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Radiation interactions and dosimetry group

Radiation Interactions and Dosimetry Group

  • Develops, maintains, and disseminates the national measurement standards for the dosimetry of x rays, gamma rays, and electrons

  • Engages in research on radiation interactions and effects to meet requirements for new standards and to address the needs of industry, medicine, and government.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Control station for dual x ray sets

Control Station for Dual X-ray Sets

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

300 kv x ray range

300 kV X-Ray Range

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

An instrument calibration at nist x ray calibration lab

An Instrument Calibration atNIST X-Ray Calibration Lab

  • 100 kV Range

  • 300 kV Range

  • Mammography Range

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Instrument calibration set up

Instrument Calibration Set Up

Free Air Chamber (NIST National Standard)

Customer’s Ion Chamber

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Data collection and analysis

Data Collection and Analysis

  • 10-15 Readings Taken per Ion Chamber

  • Mean and Standard Deviation Calculated

  • Correction Factors Calculated & Applied

  • Air Kerma, Exposure Rate Calculated for FAC

  • R/C Calculated for Ion Chamber

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Report for ion chamber

Report for Ion Chamber

  • Shows Raw Data

  • Beam Code

  • Chamber Settings

  • Air Kerma

  • Calibration Factor

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Overall uncertainty reduced by

Overall Uncertainty Reduced by

  • Up to 15 correction factors calculated and applied

  • Measurements confirmed via multiple paths

  • Precision positioning

  • High precision, ultra stable equipment

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Results in uncertainties of

Results in Uncertainties of:

  • Primary calibration labs ± 1%

  • Secondary labs ± 2-3%

  • Calibration labs > 3%

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

National standards canada s x ray free air chamber

National StandardsCanada’s X-Ray Free Air Chamber

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Iaea co 60 ion chamber

IAEA Co-60 Ion Chamber

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Nist wide angle free air chamber

NIST Wide Angle Free Air Chamber

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

International standards

International Standards

  • A Look at Calibration Labs Around the World

  • Intercomparison and Other International Programs

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

A bit of background

A Bit of Background

  • About 20-25% of Hopewell Designs work is international

  • We researched international calibration and dosimetry programs

  • This presentation gives an overview of what we found, and

  • Reviews some of the laboratories where we supplied equipment.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Primary standards laboratories psl

Primary Standards Laboratories (PSL)

  • Russia

  • Spain

  • USA

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • France

  • Germany

  • Canada

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Hungary

  • Netherlands

  • New Zealand

  • United Kingdom

  • (plus others)

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Secondary standards labs ssl

Secondary Standards Labs (SSL)


Czech Republic



















Saudi Arabia



Slovak Republic


South Africa
































Hopewell Designs, Inc.

The bureau international des poids et mesures bipm

The Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM)

  • Ensures world-wide uniformity of measurements and traceability to International System of Measurements

  • Via Convention of the Metre

  • Intercomparison Programs

  • Measurement Related Research

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

A brief history dosimetry and nuclear medicine

A Brief History – Dosimetry and Nuclear Medicine

  • 1950’s – Co-60 teletherapy introduced

  • 1960’s – Recognized need for uniform radiation measurements

  • 1970’s – Several networks and programs established in int’l arena

  • 1980’s – Ongoing support for calibration, training, new program development

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

International traceability

International Traceability

  • PSLs and BIPM provide 1st link in chain of international measurement system

  • Direct comparison with PSL’s standards

  • BIPM and PSLs provide calibration services to SSLs & others

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Services for radioactivity measurements

Services for Radioactivity Measurements

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Intercomparison results one example

Intercomparison Results – One Example

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Primary uses of radiation worldwide

Primary Uses of Radiation - Worldwide

  • Nuclear Power

  • Industrial Processing, Primarily Sterilization

  • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Medical treatment

Medical Treatment

  • Largest Segment: Cancer Treatment

  • Most new cancer cases in developing countries

  • On going effort by WHO and others to support nuclear medicine programs

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Major role of ssl

Major Role of SSL

  • Help assure accurate dosimetry thru:

    • Instrument calibration – traceable to a primary standard

    • Dosimetry programs: Calibration & QA audits

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Work of the ssls

Work of the SSLs

  • Maintain Radiation Dosimetry Standards

  • Collaborate with hospitals and end users

  • Provide services to end users

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

A short tour of recent work

A Short Tour of Recent Work

  • Institut Rudjer Boskovic, Croatia

  • Institute of Nuclear Physics, Albania

  • Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Committee

  • Ministry of Health, Kuwait

  • Institute of Public Health, Romania

  • Radiation Protection Institute of Ireland

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Institut rudjer boskovic croatia

Institute – nuclear research for over 50 yrs

Provides dosimetry services

Setting up instrument calibration

Institut Rudjer Boskovic, Croatia

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Co 60 teletherapy calibration

Co-60 Teletherapy Calibration

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

X ray techniques cs 137 protection level cal

X-Ray Techniques,Cs-137 Protection Level Cal.

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Institute of nuclear physics albania

Nuclear research

Dosimetry program

Instrument calibration program being implemented

Institute of Nuclear Physics, Albania

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

X ray and cs 137 calibrations

X-Ray and Cs-137 Calibrations

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Kazakhstan atomic energy committee

Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Committee

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Ministry of health kuwait

Ministry of Health, Kuwait

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Institute of public health romania

Active dosimetry and instrument calibration for over 30 years

Upgrade Equipment

Adding to Capabilities

Institute of Public Health, Romania

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Radiation institute of ireland

Radiation Institute of Ireland

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

Thanks from hopewell designs

Thanks from Hopewell Designs

Hopewell Designs, Inc.

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